Memory care worker pleads guilty to abuse after co-worker records her interactions with resident
A caregiver at a Minnesota assisted living community pleaded guilty to abuse of a vulnerable adult last week after a co-worker recorded her on a cellphone taunting, restraining and swearing at a resident with dementia.
Chanta Hampton, 27, who worked at Lino Lakes Assisted Living in Lino Lakes, MN, pleaded guilty to the gross misdemeanor Sept. 6 in Anoka County District Court as part of a plea deal wherein a felony stalking charge will be dismissed, according to the Star-Tribune. She is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 22.
A fellow former caregiver, Sarah Mills, 27, also is charged with abuse of a vulnerable adult and felony stalking for the same incidents, which lasted three to four hours over two days in early February.
“Based on a preponderance of evidence, abuse occurred,” the Minnesota Department of Health said in an Aug. 15 report obtained by McKnight's Senior Living. The report was based on a June investigation during which health department employees conducted interviews, reviewed records and watched recordings that had been made of the incidents.
The report, which does not name Hampton and Mills, details their alleged actions toward 70-year-old resident Suzanne Edwards, who lived in the community's memory care unit, on an overnight shift. Among the alleged actions:
- Hampton threatened to burn Edwards with a cigarette lighter and asked her whether she wanted to fight.
- Hampton and Mills confined Edwards to a chair by pushing another chair against her legs, and they laughed at her when she tried to stand up. Later, they locked her in her room, yelling “Go to bed” through the closed door.
- Hampton and Mills exposed Edwards' bare buttocks by lifting her garment.
- Hampton told Edwards to “Go the [expletive] to sleep,” “Shut up, I am trying to watch a movie” and made other comments laced with obscenities.
- Hampton and Mills used “a sing-song voice” and told Edwards, “I can wipe my own [expletive],” “I'm going to live longer than you” and “I don't pee in bed.”
- Mills took Edwards' purse away from her, and the two employees took items from it. Hampton told Edwards, “I'm taking all your money and you don't get it back” and “I was going to give it back, but you're being rude to me.”
According to the health department, when Lino Lakes learned of the alleged incidents from the employee who had recorded them, the community immediately suspended Hampton and Mills while it investigated; both women resigned from their positions less than an hour later. Lino Lakes also contacted the ombudsman and police, the health department said. The employee who had recorded the incident shared the recording with police and also made a statement.
The health department investigators said that Lino Lakes had proof in its personnel files that both women had received the community's employee handbook, which indicates that maltreatment of residents is a firing offense. The files also indicated that both employees had undergone training related to the community's policies, they said.
McKnight's Senior Living did not receive a response to its request for comment from Lino Lakes by the publication deadline.