A former nursing assistant at the Geraldine Thompson Nursing Home in Wall Township awaits a possible trial, charged with sexually assaulting a patient in 2015.

Monmouth County Courthouse (Ilya Hemlin, Townsquare Media NJ)

Todd Fulton, 43, of Hazlet, was indicted Friday by a Monmouth County grand jury in Freehold. He faces a first-degree count of aggravated sexual assault, and second-degree counts of sexual assault and official misconduct, according to the office of Monmouth County Proseucutor Chris Gramiccioni.

A conviction on the first-degree charge would leave Fulton vulnerable to a prison term of up to 20 years. Second-degree counts carry possible 10-year prison terms. Both sexual assault charges fall within guidelines of New Jersey's No Early Release Act, requiring tghat 85 percent of any sentence be served before parole eligibility.

The official misconduct charge carries a possible 10-year sentence with a mandatory five years before parole consideration.

Wall Township police and county investigators began their probe on April 4, 2015, when an administrative staffer in the nursing home reported being told by an elderly female patient that she was sexually attacked by a staffer.

The woman wasn't able to identify the suspect at the time, authorities said, but Fulton was identified through forensic investgations by the Prosecutor's Office, Wall police, and the New Jersey State Police Forensics Laboratory.

The nursing home was a county owned- and operated facility at the time. In the budget just approved, Freeholders divested all ownership and operation of nursing facilities, in what they called a cost-saving move.

If Fulton is convicted or accepts a guilty plea, there is no indication in information from the Prosecutor's office of whether it would expose the County to responsibility if a civil action were to be filed.

The County's case is led by Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Fichter. Fulton is represented by Tinton Falls attorney Joseph Compitello.

Charges are accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless, and until, found guilty in a court of law.

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