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


April 26, 2002 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

NURSING ASSISTANT CHARGED WITH
STRIKING 81-YEAR-OLD DEMENTIA PATIENT IN THE FACE

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that a nursing assistant, Betty Costley, 60, of the 6900 block of Eden Mill Road in Woodbine, was charged with abuse of a vulnerable adult and second degree assault for allegedly striking an 81 year-old nursing home resident.

According to the statement of charges, on January 13, 2002, Costley was employed as a nursing assistant at Chapel Hill Nursing Center in Randallstown and was assigned to care for the 81 year-old vulnerable adult victim. The victim, who has dementia, suffers from congestive heart failure, and is wheelchair bound, requires assistance with all of her activities of daily living. While Costley was supposed to be assisting the victim, she instead began struggling with her, and then struck the nursing home resident in the face with sufficient force to leave a welt and to briefly tip one wheel of the woman's wheelchair up in the air.

Abuse of a vulnerable adult is a misdemeanor punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine. Second degree assault is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a $2,500 fine. An application for statement of charges is an accusation, and all persons are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

The case has been set for trial in the District Court for Baltimore County on June 24th.

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.

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