November 8, 2004
CERTIFIED NURSE SENTENCED TO 6 MONTHS IN JAIL
Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that a former
certified nursing assistant, Haja Bah, has been sentenced to
six months in jail. Bah was convicted last August by a Worcester
County jury of felony neglect of a vulnerable adult in the first
degree for leaving a developmentally disabled woman, Violette,
alone in a bathtub with the water running. As a result of the
neglect, Violette suffered second degree burns on 40% of her
body and was hospitalized for almost seven weeks. A conviction
for first degree neglect requires a jury finding that the neglect
resulted in serious physical injury to the victim. The case was
tried before the Honorable Theodore Eschenburg.
Bah, 25, of Landover, Maryland, was a caretaker for Violette,
a 46 year old developmentally disabled woman in a group home in
Washington, D.C. operated by St. Johns Community Services. In September
2003, Bah and two co-workers took Violette and three other developmentally
disabled residents on a vacation to Ocean City, Maryland. Violette
is profoundly mentally disabled, partially paralyzed on her right
side, cannot communicate verbally, and suffers from a seizure disorder.
She requires 24 hour supervision pursuant to the plan of care at
St. Johns and cannot be left alone.
During the morning of September 5, 2003, Bah placed Violette in
the bathtub. She turned on the water and then left the room. While
she was gone, the water temperature increased to over 130 degrees.
Bah left Violette alone long enough for the victim to sustain second
degree burns on 40% of her body. Violette could not call out or
get out of the bathtub. Bah admitted to a State investigator that
she left Violette alone for 5 to 10 minutes. Bah also admitted,
and other testimony confirmed, that she had been trained to never
leave a developmentally disabled person alone in a bathtub. Specifically,
Bah had been trained never to leave Violette alone at any time.
Having been convicted of a felony, Bah is subject to deportation.
In sentencing Bah to jail, Judge Eschenberg took into consideration
her two young children and immigration status. Bah was taken into
custody from the courtroom.
This case was
prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Medicaid
Fraud Control Unit, which has authority to prosecute vulnerable
adult abuse and neglect in facilities that receive Medicaid funds,
in conjunction with the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s