For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
MAN CONVICTED OF ABUSING 45-YEAR-OLD FEMALE ROOMMATE WITH DOWN SYNDROME BY KICKING HER IN HEAD
*Assault was captured on video surveillance
FULLERTON – A man captured on surveillance video was convicted yesterday of abusing his 45-year-old roommate with Down Syndrome by kicking her in the head and torso. Richard Vu Nguyen, 45, Garden Grove, was found guilty by a jury June 4, 2012, of one felony count of dependent adult abuse and faces a maximum sentence of four years in state prison at his sentencing Aug. 17, 2012, in Department N-13, North Justice Center, Fullerton.
In 2011, Nguyen lived in a Garden Grove home with his girlfriend Mai Do. Mai Do was related to Jane Doe, who also lived in the home, and was the victim’s State-funded caretaker. The victim’s Down Syndrome results in a profound disability, including an inability to verbally communicate, and makes her a vulnerable member of the community.
In March 2011, some of Jane Doe’s family suspected she was being abused by Nguyen based on a change in her behavior and the way that the defendant taunted the victim. These family members subsequently set up a surveillance camera in Jane Doe’s bedroom.
On one occasion between March 31, 2011, and April 9, 2011, Nguyen entered Jane Doe’s room, jumped onto her bed, and kicked her in the head and upper torso. The assault was captured on the surveillance video. Jane Doe’s relatives reported the abuse to the Garden Grove Police Department, who investigated this case.
During the trial, several of Jane Doe’s family members testified on behalf of the non-verbally communicative victim. Two family members, including the victim’s caretaker, testified for the defendant.
Mai Do testified on behalf of Nguyen and said that despite watching the video of her boyfriend abusing Jane Doe, her initial feelings of betrayal had subsided. Another relative of the victim, Phuong Do, testified that she did not think the crime was serious after seeing the surveillance video because she believed the defendant kicked Jane Doe in the head “to be funny.”
Deputy District Attorney Barrie Pink of the Family Protection Unit is prosecuting this case.