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For Immediate Release
November 8, 2004
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

FORMER 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 Office.

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