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A 56-year-old man with a history of health problems pleaded guilty Wednesday to attempting to sexually assault a critically ill 88-year-old woman at the Regency Heights Convalescent Home on Crouch Street in Norwich last year.
Michael Sapia was sentenced in New London Superior Court to four months in prison followed by three years of probation. He has been incarcerated since Jan. 31 and is likely to be released soon. He is required to register as a sex offender for 10 years.
Sapia, who is thin and frail-looking, was allowed to sit during his appearance Wednesday morning before New London Superior Court Judge Hillary B. Strackbein. His attorney, Bruce A. Sturman, said Sapia, who was listed as homeless when he was arrested, would be living with his brother when he is released from prison.
Witnesses to the incident told police Sapia went into the room of a woman who was receiving end-of-life care in April 2013 and closed the door. A nurse’s aide who entered the room found Sapia standing next to the victim’s bed with his pants and underwear around his ankles. The woman’s hospital gown was pulled down and her diaper was partially unfastened and folded over, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Sapia pleaded guilty under the Alford Doctrine, which indicates he does not agree with all of the state’s allegations but does not want to risk the possibility of a harsher sentence if convicted at trial. Sturman and prosecutor Theresa Anne Ferryman had several pretrial discussions of the case with Strackbein before reaching the resolution.
Ferryman said the condition of the victim, who police said was receiving end-of-life care at the time of the incident, has improved.