Charges are being considered against workers at an assisted-living center in Hugo, where they allegedly recorded and shared "disparaging and humiliating" cellphone videos of a mentally diminished resident who was posed as if using cocaine and booze while rock music played as a soundtrack.
Managers knew of the alleged incidents at Hugo Gracewood Senior Living, but the facility "failed to investigate," according to details of a state Health Department investigation released this week.
City Attorney David Snyder said Thursday that his office received a copy two weeks ago of the Health Department's findings into the alleged abuse, and "we are currently reviewing [it] for possible prosecution." Snyder said no one has been arrested and a determination on charges was likely this month.
Snyder's office prosecutes various levels of misdemeanors. A case for consideration of felony charges was not submitted to the Washington County attorney's office.
Operators of the facility have yet to respond to the state's conclusion that "the alleged perpetrators treated clients in a disparaging and humiliating manner, taking photos and video ... with props indicating illicit behavior."
A house manager who was not employed by the facility at the time of the alleged recordings said Thursday that the four staff members involved have been fired.
According to the Health Department's investigation, which began in mid-June:
One video portrayed a resident with Alzheimer's sitting in a wheelchair at a table. A white powder was smeared under the client's nose and placed in three lines on the table. As the resident's arm shook from tremors, the song "Cocaine" by Eric Clapton played in the background. At the end of the video, the resident saluted.
Another video showed the same resident holding an empty vodka bottle while a staff member pushed the resident in a wheelchair as rock music played.
A second resident was recorded on video sitting on the toilet and yelling at staff members. "You guys are going to hell," the resident screamed. "We'll see you there," a worker responded.
The videos and cellphone photographs were shared among some members of the staff. One said she didn't report the videos to superiors because one fellow staffer was a friend and another a relative.
A night manager on duty at the time of the recordings acknowledged being aware of the videos and informed another supervisor. No internal investigation or vulnerable adult report could be found, the state report read.