By JOSH FRIEDMAN
A worker at several assisted living homes in Santa Barbara County allegedly engaged in sex acts with three elderly patients, raping at least one of them.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s detectives, along with Santa Barbara police officers, arrested Jared Ekola, 32, on Wednesday for sex crimes against elderly victims in care homes in Goleta and Santa Barbara.
On Jan. 5, detectives began investigating allegations of abuse that occurred at the Goleta care home between 2013 and 2020. Detectives learned an additional offense occurred in Santa Barbara.
Sheriff’s and Santa Barbara police detectives jointly determined Ekola targeted two vulnerable patients at the Goleta care home and another victim at a Santa Barbara facility. The Santa Barbara man allegedly engaged in sex acts with the victims, who were unable to consent, protect themselves or report the abuse because of their physical and mental states,
On Wednesday evening, detectives served search warrants at Ekola’s home in unincorporated Santa Barbara. Detectives arrested Ekola and booked him in the Santa Barbara Main Jail on felony charges of elder abuse, rape and other unlawful sex acts. Ekola is being held without bail.
An investigation into the case is ongoing. Anyone who has information about the alleged abuse is asked to contact sheriff’s detectives at (805) 681-4150.