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


April 10, 2002 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

FORMER LAUREL ADULT DAYCARE COUNSELOR SENTENCED FOR PUNCHING DISABLED MAN IN THE FACE

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today that former daycare counselor, Gbengo Benson Ogundele, 43, of the 800 block of Fairlawn Avenue, Laurel, was sentenced to serve three years in prison for punching a developmentally disabled man in the face. Prince George's County District Court Judge Leo E. Green, Jr. suspended the jail term and ordered Ogundele to serve 18 months of supervised probation, pay a $2,500 fine, all but $500 suspended, and perform 10 hours community service. Judge Green further required that Ogundele not be employed in the healthcare field for a period of three years.

On March 19, 2002, Judge Green found Ogundele guilty of abuse of a vulnerable adult, but had acquitted him of second degree assault charges. At the time of the abuse, Ogundele was a caregiver at CHI's Prince George's Day Program, which is a vocational habilitation program located in Laurel. The vulnerable adult victim, age 28, is developmentally disabled, uses a wheelchair, was known to display aggressive behavior, and at the time of the assault, required one-on-one assistance.

According to the testimony of the eyewitness, on June 28, 2001, program participants were in the recreation room about to start an exercise class when the victim spat at Ogundele because Ogundele allegedly upset the victim. Ogundele said "If you spit at me again, I will hit you." The victim spat at Ogundele again and Ogundele pulled back his arm, made a fist and punched the vulnerable adult victim in the face with such force that the victim's head went back and the eyewitness heard a loud noise. The vulnerable adult victim was sent to the hospital for evaluation, but was not injured. Ogundele took the stand and admitted to threatening the victim, but claimed he accidentally touched the victim in the face and that he was acting in self defense because the victim, who was in a wheelchair, was kicking his feet in the air.

This case was prosecuted by the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, which has authority to prosecute abuse or neglect in facilities that receive Medicaid funds.

Beginning in June, Attorney General Curran will be hosting a series of town hall discussions about preventing abuse and the legal and psycho-social impact of abuse on the elderly.

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