More than 70 charges filed in investigation of cruelty at Ga. Alzheimer's facility

  • Updated: July 2, 2013 - 12:35 PM

COMMERCE, Ga. — Almost two dozen former employees of a Georgia facility for people with Alzheimer's disease are facing more than 70 charges alleging cruel treatment, such as staff members striking patients and throwing water on them.

The charges stem from a three-month investigation of Alzheimer's Care of Commerce, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said in a statement.

Agents used a search warrant on Tuesday morning to search for evidence at the center, about 65 miles northeast of Atlanta.

Warrants for the arrests of 21 former and present employees were issued. Charges include cruelty to people 65 or older and involve accusations of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.

"Information obtained through the investigation indicated that patients were restrained with bed sheets and subjected to inhumane and undignified conditions to include 'double diapering,' which is a practice whereby multiple diapers were placed on the patients at once to keep the staff from changing soiled diapers as often," the GBI said in a statement.

GBI agents say they also learned that patients were being cared for by people with prior felony convictions that include voluntary manslaughter and identity theft.

Telephone messages left at the center by The Associated Press Tuesday morning were not immediately returned.

The facility's owner, Donna Wright, is among those charged. It wasn't known Tuesday whether Wright has an attorney.

Authorities were planning a Tuesday afternoon news conference to discuss the case.

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