Two employees at a senior care facility in Lino Lakes have been charged with physical and verbal abuse after allegedly taunting and demeaning a 70-year-old woman who lived in a memory care unit.
The two female workers at Lino Lakes Assisted Living, a 112-bed facility, are accused of repeatedly mocking and threatening the elderly woman in a series of incidents in early February, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Anoka County attorney's office. They also sexually humiliated the woman, pulling up her nightgown and making fun of her exposed body, the complaint says.
Another worker, who is not identified, recorded portions of the abuse and then shared the recordings with the Lino Lakes Police Department.
The two employees, Chanta Hampton, 27, and Sarah Alexis Mills, 27, both of Coon Rapids, were charged with one count each of criminal abuse of a vulnerable adult by a caregiver, a gross misdemeanor, and stalking with the intent to injure, a felony.
The facility's executive director said he launched an internal investigation immediately after hearing of the case. Citing privacy concerns, he declined to say whether the two women still work there. Reached by telephone, Hampton said the allegations were "absolutely false" and declined to comment further.
The alleged abuse comes amid a dramatic, sevenfold increase since 2010 in reports of maltreatment at state-licensed health facilities, including nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. It also echoes a 2008 case in which a half-dozen aides, including teenagers, were charged with physically and sexually humiliating residents at a nursing home in Albert Lea. In that case, aides were found to have engaged in a such sexually humiliating acts as jabbing the breasts of residents as well as getting into bed with a resident and making humping motions.
According to the Anoka County complaint, Hampton and Mills once teased the elderly woman because she had removed her underwear, making comments such as, "Get your naked ass out of here."
In another alleged incident, the elderly woman was sitting in the facility's television area when Hampton placed a chair against her legs, preventing her from standing up or moving. Both workers began laughing at the resident as she became frustrated; Hampton and Mills then "started laughing hysterically" when the resident tried using a television remote to call the police.
The complaint also alleges that Hampton threatened several times to beat up the elderly resident, and at one point even asked her if she wanted to fight. The woman replied, "No, you're bigger than me," as Mills laughed. At another point, Mills threatened to lock the woman in her room, before both women held the door shut and screamed, "Go to bed!" according to the complaint.
The worker who recorded the alleged abuse shared 10 video files with the police.