Nursing Home Employee Charged with Abuse of Patient

Juneau_County_Courthouse.jpgA certified nursing assistant at a Wisconsin nursing home faces criminal charges for the alleged abuse of a patient over a six-month period. At least two other employees reported seeing her physically assaulting the nursing home resident on multiple occasions. The felony charges could result in a substantial prison sentence.

Two certified nursing assistants at Crest View Nursing Home in New Lisbon, Wisconsin reported witnessing the abuse of an 86 year-old resident by another certified nursing assistant, Ginger Newlin. One of the witnesses reported seeing Newlin, among other acts of assault, verbally abuse the elderly woman and spit in her face. The other witness reported incidents of abuse that occurred at least once a week, beginning in October or November 2011. In addition to physical abuse, she reported hearing Newlin threaten the woman, such as threats to break the woman’s fingers.

Prosecutors charged Newlin with at least two felony counts in June 2012. She faces a charge of abuse of a patient, a broadly-defined offense that could include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, unconsented treatment, or unreasonable restraint. “Patient” expressly includes nursing home residents and other elder or vulnerable adults. Penalties vary depending on whether the alleged abuse was intentional, reckless, or negligent, and on the degree of harm or risk of harm that resulted from the alleged abuse. The most severe offenses, described as intentional or reckless abuse resulting in death, are treated as Class C felonies. This can result in up to forty years in prison and fines of up to $100,000. Reckless or negligent abuse that is likely to, but does not, cause “great bodily harm” is a Class I felony, punishable by a maximum of three-and-a-half years’ imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.

The charge of felony aggravated battery involves intentionally causing “great bodily harm” to a person. The classification of the offense of battery, under Wisconsin law, depends on the degree of actual harm suffered by the victim and the defendant’s actual intent. The most severe level of this offense, aggravated battery, involves proof that the defendant caused “great bodily harm” with the intent to cause “great bodily harm,” a Class E felony. A defendant who only intends “bodily harm” but causes “great bodily harm,” according to the statute, is guilty of a Class H felony. A defendant who both intends and causes mere “bodily harm” commits a Class I felony. The statute creates a presumption of a “substantial risk of great bodily harm,” which a defendant may rebut, if the alleged victim is at least sixty-two years old, as in the case of most nursing home residents.

The defendant in this case demanded a preliminary hearing during her first court appearance in October 2012. The judge scheduled the hearing for January, but the defendant waived the hearing on the day it was scheduled. Her arraignment is now scheduled for March, and she is free on a $25,000 bond.

At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we help people in Maryland obtain compensation for injuries caused by nursing home abuse or neglect. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, contact us today online or at (800) 654-1949.

More Blog Posts:

Nursing Home Locked Down by Police After Receiving Threat Letter, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, August 13, 2012
Maryland Nursing Home Staffer Pleads Guilty to Abuse of a Resident, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, February 14, 2012
Two Nursing Home Workers Lose Licenses After Alleged Beating of Resident, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, December 7, 2011
Photo credit: By Jeff the quiet (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons.

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