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For Immediate Release
July 11, 2002
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357

FORMER GROUP HOME EMPLOYEE CHARGED WITH NEGLECT AND RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that a former residential counselor of a group home for developmentally disabled individuals, Shandell Nikki Matthews, has been charged with neglect of a vulnerable adult and reckless endangerment in connection with a July 1, 2001 incident in which five severely retarded adults were left unattended in a van in a parking garage at the City Place Mall in Silver Spring, Maryland for at least 50 minutes.

Matthews, 31, of the 3800 block Regency Parkway in Suitland, was employed by the Kennedy Institute, which operated the group home in Silver Spring. She was charged by Criminal Information with five counts of neglect of a vulnerable adult and five counts of reckless endangerment.

Intentional neglect and abuse of vulnerable adults by caregivers is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of five years in jail and a $10,000 fine. Reckless endangerment is a misdemeanor, punishable by not more than five years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. A Criminal Information is an accusation, and all persons are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

This case was prosecuted by the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, which has authority to prosecute abuse or neglect of vulnerable adults in Medicaid-funded facilities.

Attorney General Curran is hosting a series of town hall meetings entitled "Protecting the Elderly: How to Detect and Prevent Elder Abuse." The next town hall meetings are scheduled for July 24 at Prince George's Community College, and September 18 at Anne Arundel Community College. To register or for more information, call 1 (866) 298-8245.

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