A registered nurse and former director of a nursing home care center in New York has pleaded guilty to intentionally acting to cover up sexual abuse and neglect of patients at the center.
News reports indicate defendant pleaded guilty to two felony counts of tampering with evidence. The local state attorney called the neglect shown by leadership at this center was “shocking.” She was originally handed a 40-count indictment when she was first charged. However, she ultimately only pleaded guilty to two of those charges.
The 40-year-old is alleged to have engaged in a number of actions to protect her employer – to the detriment of those vulnerable patients she had promised to protect when she took the job. Although she faces up to eight years in prison on the two felony charges, she will only receive probation if she cooperates with prosecutors, who are working to obtain evidence in other pending cases surrounding the center.
Still, the attorney said she will suffer consequences because she will no longer be able to work as a nurse and she will no longer be employable by an agency that accepts state and federal grants.
The nurse admitted she destroyed a witness statement describing an incident of sexual assault by one resident against another. She also admitted to hiding medical records to conceal evidence of patient neglect.
In the sexual assault case, defendant admitted she was aware of a written statement made in May 2013 that involved one resident sexually assaulting another resident while unsupervised in a dining room. Rather than take that information and turn it over to police or even launch an investigation or take steps to protect the alleged victim, defendant instead took steps to protect her employer. Specifically, she admitted to tearing the note up and flushing it down the toilet. She said she did this to spare her company the scrutiny that such an investigation would warrant.
With regard to the medication, defendant acknowledged a doctor had ordered a certain type of medication for a patient, yet the nursing home – for reasons unclear – did not actually provide that medication to the plaintiff. When defendant became aware the medication on file wasn’t correct (i.e., the records were left blank) she instructed the assistant director of nursing to “fix it.” Essentially, the employee was asked to fill in those blanks and sign her signature as if the medication had been dispensed.
Defendant was asked whether she knew that both the note regarding the alleged sexual assault and the medication record could be used against the company in criminal action by the state attorney general’s office. She admitted she was aware of this, and further that was why she took steps to conceal it.
Unfortunately, our nursing home abuse attorneys in Orlando aren’t all that surprised that this sort of thing happened. What is more surprising is that it was actually brought to light. All too often, vulnerable residents suffer in silence, being afraid or unable to speak on their own behalf.
Defendant has worked at the center for two years. She is expected to be sentenced in December. Criminal cases against other defendants are pending.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
Nurse admits covering up sexual abuse, neglect at Herkimer nursing home, Aug. 26, 2015, By James T. Mulder, Syracuse.com
More Blog Entries:
Police: Nursing Home Abuse Recorded by Staff on Social Media, Aug. 30, 2015, Orlando Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog