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‘I was always her sweetheart,’ says teen accused of violating 89-year-old at West End rehab center

Posted at 11:35 AM, Nov 05, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-06 17:34:56-05

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A 19-year-old staff member at a West End rehabilitation center was arrested and charged in connection with a sex crime.

Stephen Anthony Burton was arrested early Wednesday morning and charged with one count of object sexual penetration after an alleged incident in June at a rehabilitation center along the 2400 block of Pemberton Road.

That's where an 89-year-old woman reported Burton inappropriately touched her, according to Henrico Police.

Stephen Anthony Burton (PHOTO: Henrico Police)

Stephen Anthony Burton (PHOTO: Henrico Police)

Police said the victim came forward with the complaint two weeks after it happened, stating that Burton had touched her private parts while he was placing a blanket on her lap.

"I've loved my job. I like my job. Never would I have done something to hurt a resident," Burton told CBS 6 News reporter Sandra Jones in an exclusive interview from the Henrico County Jail.

The former Certified Nursing Assistant is accused of a sex crime at the Laurels of University Park in the West End.

"She was under my care, yes," Burton admitted. But when asked if he gave the woman a blanket, he said he couldn't recall.

"Not that I can remember. I mean, I'm sorry, it's been six months," Burton said.

Burton said detectives questioned him twice about the alleged incident, but he said he had not heard anything else until he was arrested five months later.


"It's hard now because I have a family. I got little nieces that's going to watch this. I got a Stepmother that's going to watch this," Burton explained.

"I was always her sweetheart and stuff," Burton said. "Never had a problem with her."

Burton said that he does not know if he is being targeted, but said that there are two "Stevens" that work at the facility.

Burton also said he wanted to apologize to the victim, but insists he is an innocent man.

Burton is scheduled to appear in Henrico's General District Court on Dec. 11.

Management at the Laurels of University Park released the following statement to CBS 6 News:

The Laurels of University Park honors the privacy of its residents. It is due to these professional practices that the information can be shared is of a limited nature

On June 18, 2014, Henrico County investigators informed our staff of an alleged incident between a staff member and a prior resident and requested our cooperation in the investigation. Upon this notification, the staff member in question was immediately suspended and did not return to the employment with The Laurels of university Park.

Facility staff then completed a thorough investigation and review of the incident per regulations and protocol, reporting to the appropriate agencies in full cooperation with law enforcement. The employee had worked for us approximately 30 days in total. No other incidents or concerns were identified.

All Laurel employees undergo a full criminal background check prior to employment.

The Laurels of University Park continues to cooperate with the Henrico County Police Department and other Federal and State Regulatory Agencies as appropriate

Catherine Chiovaro
Regional Manager