Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

March 14, 2013

Man accused of sex assault on disabled relative

By Dustin Luca
Staff Writer

---- — A 58-year-old Dascomb Road resident has pleaded not guilty to charges he sexually assaulted an elderly relative who’s been incapacitated by a stroke.

John Bangert, 75 Dascomb Road, was arrested last Thursday and charged with assault and battery on a person 14 or older, incest and rape. Prior to his arraignment Friday, Bangert had professed his innocence in a voluntary police interview two days earlier.

The charges stem from an alleged incident that took place late Tuesday night, March 5, at the Wingate Nursing Home at 80 Andover St., less than a mile from the Bangert home.

An elderly relative of Bangert’s lives at the nursing home. She can’t speak, eat or move on her own after suffering a stroke, according to a police narrative filed by Andover Police Patrolman Timothy Hagerty.

A Wingate nurse who entered the room to check the woman’s catheter said that while she was in the room March 5 she saw John Bangert sexually assault the woman with his hand.

His sister, Barbara, was in the room with him and “made a comment to him about their [relative’s] feeding tube.” According to the nurse, she “seemed unaffected by John’s actions,” Hagerty’s narrative reads. The sister has not been charged.

After pleading not guilty to the charges Friday, John Bangert was held on $2,500 cash bail, which was later paid to release him.

John Bangert declined to comment when reached at his home Monday, saying he “can’t speak to” the allegations.

He has a “strict stay-away order” requiring him to stay away from the woman and Wingate Nursing home, according to court documents. He has a probable cause hearing scheduled for May 8.

Officials with Wingate Healthcare declined to comment, citing medical privacy laws. Wingate Healthcare, founded 22 years ago, operates 19 nursing home facilities in New York and Massachusetts.

John and Barbara Bangert live together in town and “spend a lot of time at the nursing home,” police were told by the nurse.

After she saw John Bangert’s actions on March 5, the nurse said she “was very troubled by Mr. Bangert’s actions and that his behavior was clearly criminal and amounted to rape,” the police narrative reads.

During the incident, the nurse also said she saw the woman “had not been injured but that she had moved back slightly. [The nurse] advised me that this small movement was the most she had ever seen [the woman] move,” Hagerty wrote.

After Hagerty spoke with the nurse at the Wingate facility, John and Barbara Bangert both came to the police station “to speak with us regarding their [relative’s] living arrangements at Wingate,” the police report reads.

Barbara Bangert was uncooperative with police at the station, but in a recorded interview, John Bangert said he never committed the act he’s accused of, according to the narrative.

“I asked him if the nurse who had witnessed his actions was just lying about the whole incident and he stated that he did not know,” Hagerty wrote. “He denied any wrong doing and after speaking with us for several minutes he returned to the lobby and left with his sister.”

During their conversation, John Bangert “did not show any type of emotion whatsoever, which seemed odd to me since we were accusing him of” the crimes, Hagerty wrote.

On Thursday, police spoke with Assistant District Attorney Melissa Woodward about Andover Police’s investigation. She told Andover police that “Mr. John Bangert should be arrested for rape, incest, and indecent assault and battery on a person over 65,” according to a supplemental narrative from Hagerty documenting John Bangert’s arrest.