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For Immediate Release
September 24, 2003
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
scaine@oag.state.md.us

FORMER BALTIMORE COUNTY CAREGIVER PLEADS GUILTY TO NEGLECT; LEFT CHARGES ALONE WHILE HE ATTENDED CLASS

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that Chinonso Ndidi Ogbonna, a former residential counselor at L.I.F.E., Inc. in Baltimore County pleaded guilty to three counts of neglect of a vulnerable adult for leaving three developmentally disabled adults alone while he attended college classes.Judge Vicki Ballou-Watts of the Circuit Court for Baltimore County sentenced Ogbonna to six months incarceration. She also ordered Ogbonna to refrain from providing care to vulnerable individuals and further placed him on three years supervised probation.

Ogbonna, 22, of the 30 block of Heraldry Court in Baltimore County, was a paid caregiver for three developmentally disabled men who reside in a group home. According to the Statement of Facts, beginning in September 2002, Ogbonna would clock in at L.I.F.E., sign out a van or car and drive the three men in his care to the Community College of Baltimore County, where he attended evening classes. Once there, he left them alone in the cafeteria and went to class in a different building.

On October 3, 2002, security personnel were called to one of the buildings at the college and found two of the developmentally disabled adults from L.I.F.E., Inc. fighting with each other. One of the men complained of head pain from having his head struck on the floor, and a paramedic was called. When Ogbonna was found he was adamant that the victim did not need to be transported to a hospital and refused to give the security officer the name of his employer. Security personnel told Ogbonna not to bring the men back to the campus. On December 4, 2002, a maintenance technician found the three developmentally disabled men unattended in the cafeteria. One of the men was found frightened and crying, and another was screaming. Baltimore County Police were called and a search team found Ogbonna coming out of a rest room in a different building.

This case was prosecuted by Attorney General Curran's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, which has jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute abuse or neglect of vulnerable adults in facilities that receive Medicaid funds.

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