Overnight worker accused of sexually assaulting, abusing vulnerable adult

A worker at a Burnsville group home is accused of sexually assaulting and criminally abusing an 18-year-old woman under his care.

The woman suffered head injuries and vaginal tearing sometime between about midnight on March 28 and 8 the next morning, when the day staff was serving breakfast.

The overnight worker, 26-year-old Geoffrey Edward Florance of St. Paul, is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct, third-degree assault and criminal abuse of a vulnerable adult by a caregiver, all felonies.

The victim, who has  “low cognitive ability,” is a client at an autism and seizure care facility on the 13000 block of Judicial Road, according to the criminal complaint.

The woman had suffered a large head laceration that required stitches, as well as numerous abrasions bruises on her neck and face, the complaint said. Her eyes showed minor hemorrhaging called petechiae, which is caused by broken capillaries.

Police found blood in the driveway and blood spots throughout the house.

“The clothes the victim was wearing the prior evening were found in the laundry room with blood on them,” it said. “Also recovered was  towel soaked in blood.”

The victim was taken to the hospital to have her head injury treated and, at the urging of the social worker, returned a second time for a sexual-assault exam. It revealed vaginal tearing.

The home’s lead counselor told police Florance arrived at about midnight for his shift, which was supposed to start at 9:30 p.m. March 27. When he left the woman with Florance, she had wet her bed and needed a shower, the complaint said.

When police found and arrested Florance, he said. “Is it for the group home thing?” He denied injuring the woman, saying the head injuries resulted from a seizure she’d had in the shower.

Florance claimed he hadn’t reported the injuries, which he’s required to do,  “because he had consumed some alcohol before coming to work and did not want to get in trouble,” the complaint said.

When confronted with the results of the sexual-assault exam, Florance admitted digitally penetrating the woman for about a minute while putting her to bed, the complaint said.

He said the victim “did not do or say anything” during that time.