NEWS RELEASE
Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.


December 17, 2001 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

FORMER ASSISTED LIVING HOME EMPLOYEE CHARGED WITH ABUSE AND ASSAULT

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that Dale Avery Woodard, a former house manager at an Assisted Living Home run by Hixon Options Assisted Living in Baltimore County was charged with a total of 10 counts of Abuse/Neglect of a Vulnerable Adult, Reckless Endangerment and Second Degree Assault for two separate incidents that occurred while he was caring for four vulnerable adults living in the Assisted Living Home.

According to the Application for Statement of Charges, from September 1, through the early morning hours of September 2, 2001, Woodard left four vulnerable adults who were in his care alone in their home for more than eight hours. Each of the vulnerable adults needs assistance with his or her activities of daily living and cannot be left alone. Woodard was also charged in a separate incident with abusing one of the vulnerable adults. On September 2, 2001, an eyewitness saw Woodard punch a vulnerable adult in the left eye with a closed fist. The victim is 49 years old and suffers from Bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, hypertension, and stroke.

Woodard, 40, of the 200 block of Slitting Mill Place, is charged with five counts of Abuse/Neglect of a Vulnerable Adult, four counts of Reckless Endangerment and one count of Second Degree Assault. Intentional abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults by caregivers is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of five years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. Reckless Endangerment is a misdemeanor punishable by not more than five years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. Second Degree Assault is a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.

A Statement of Charges is but an accusation based upon a finding of probable cause and a Defendant is innocent unless proven guilty.

This case is being prosecuted by the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, which has authority to investigate and prosecute abuse of vulnerable adults in facilities that receive Medicaid funds. Attorney General Curran has prepared a pamphlet in which he provides advice on how to combat abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults. Copies of "When You Suspect Abuse or Neglect" may be obtained by contacting the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit at (410) 576-6521.

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