3 April 2023

Nurse reprimanded for sexually assaulting woman at her birthday party in Goulburn

| Albert McKnight
Start the conversation
Goulburn Court building

Anthony III Laguda Estilo was convicted in the Goulburn Local Court. Photo: John Thistleton.

CONTENT WARNING: This article refers to a sexual assault.

A former nurse who admitted sexually assaulting a woman in Goulburn has been severely reprimanded over his behaviour, but will keep his nursing registration.

In 2021, the then-30-year-old Anthony III Laguda Estilo touched the woman’s genitals twice without her consent at her 19th birthday party, including once after she had passed out.

She told a magistrate that thinking about what happened was a “nightmare to [her] every night”.

“I don’t trust anyone anymore,” she said.

“I got anxiety, I’m scared at everything, and everything brings back the past.”

Estilo was convicted on two counts of sexually touching another person without consent and sentenced to an 11-month intensive corrections order, which is a community-based sentence.

He had become a registered nurse in Australia in 2017, then worked as a mental health nurse at Goulburn’s Chisholm Ross Centre from 2018 until he resigned in September 2021.

The Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) brought a complaint against him in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal as he had been convicted of a criminal offence and asked for his nursing registration to be cancelled with a two-year non-review period.

READ ALSO Marc Jessop sped at over 180km/h before killing Harri Jokien in Monaro Highway collision

The HCCC argued his offending was “inconsistent with the professional and ethical obligations expected of a registered nurse”.

“As a registered nurse, the practitioner’s responsibilities include touching patients who may be unwell, asleep, sedated or unconscious,” it said.

It claimed Estilo’s conduct was “predatory” and he “exploited” the woman, as he must have known she was drunk as she had been stumbling at the party, then after she fell asleep or passed out he sexually touched her.

The adverse impact his offending had on her was one of several reasons he was unfit to practise nursing, it argued.

Estilo told the tribunal his nursing registration had been suspended and he had been working in retail at a service station.

“I understand that the impact that my offending has had on my career is my own fault and I am sorry for the hurt that I caused [the victim], her family, and friends and those also close to me, such as my family. I am deeply ashamed of my actions,” the Philippines-born man said.

“I understand that the public have a right to hold nurses in the profession in high regard and I am sorry that my actions may have brought the profession into disrepute and I will ensure that this never happens again.”

Estilo’s lawyers argued it was not in the public interest to cancel his nursing registration for two years because he had “reflected deeply on his offending and shown deep and genuine remorse”.

“He would like to return to nursing if given the opportunity and continue to live in Australia,” they said.

READ ALSO Oliver Schulz, ex-soldier accused of war crime in Afghanistan, granted bail

When the tribunal published its decision on Thursday (30 March), it said it was satisfied the HCCC’s complaint had been proven, but also noted the commission hadn’t provided any evidence to indicate that Estilo had ever acted improperly in his work as a registered nurse.

“He understands that the impact that his offending has had on his career is his own fault and he is sorry for the hurt he has caused [the woman], her family and friends, and those also close to him such as his family,” it said.

The tribunal said it was satisfied Estilo had demonstrated insight into his behaviour, remorse for what he had done,” and the ability to continue to practise as a registered nurse going forward without being a risk to the community”. It said it did not believe he was predatory in his behaviour.

The tribunal did tell him he “has clearly behaved in an atrocious manner towards a member of the public, albeit not one who was a patient of his”.

He was severely reprimanded and ordered to pay the HCCC’s costs.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Do you like to know what’s happening around your region? Every day the About Regional team packages up our most popular stories and sends them straight to your inbox for free. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.