A terrible case has emerged from Albert Lea, Minnesota where two of the former Good Samaritan Society employees — 19-year-old Brianna Broitzman and 18-year-old Ashton Larson — have been criminally charged with the abuse of elderly patients in a nursing home. A total of eight juveniles were allegedly involved and four have been charged with failing to report the abuse. The case may trigger civil litigation against both the nursing home and potentially the Good Samaritan Society itself.
Six assistants at the nursing home are accused of poking, taunting and groping patients.
The criminal complaint charges that the teens spat in residents’ mouths, poked and groped their breasts and genitals and at times taunted them until they screamed. They allegedly laughed at such abuse. Four juveniles are charged with failing to report the incidents. A total of eight teens were allegedly involved in the incidents, but there was no record of criminal charges being filed against two of them. Some of these patients have Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia disorders.
The two defendants have been charged with fifth-degree assault, abuse of a vulnerable adult by a caregiver, abuse of a vulnerable adult with sexual contact, disorderly conduct and failing to report suspected maltreatment. Since they are all misdemeanors, it is unlikely that they will be sent to jail.
Mark Anderson, administrator at the Good Samaritan Society in Albert Lea, stated “[w]e are just really thankful that the proceedings are moving forward and hopefully can see some closure to this whole process,” Anderson said.
Closure may take a while. There remains the question of why no adult at the facility or the society noticed the abuse. There is also the question of negligence in the selection, training, and supervision of such assistants. Obviously, if these allegations are true, these are very troubled teens, but the large number of teens involved raises a broader potential for liability.