An aide at a Hopkins senior home has been arrested and charged with two counts of assault after videos from a hidden camera showed her repeatedly hitting an elderly patient in the head.
Cecilia Chebii Soi, 55, was arrested Feb. 7 after video footage showed her assaulting the patient on at least two occasions at the Glenn Hopkins senior home. Videos showed Soi striking the patient several times in the head and back with her hand, elbow and even a hair brush. Footage also showed Soi roughly pulling the patient up from the floor by her hair, according to a police report.
The patient's daughter set up the hidden camera in the home's memory-care unit after she noticed unexplained bruising on her frail mother. The patient's family shared the videos with the Hopkins Police Department in early February.
"You see a lot of things in our job that are bad, but when someone is defenseless, that makes it the most disturbing part," said Hopkins Police Sgt. Mike Glassberg, who watched the videos. "You think about your own parents and grandparents."
Increasingly, relatives are turning to hidden cameras, also known as "granny cams," as a way to detect abuse and neglect in senior homes. The cameras can be so small they go unnoticed by staff members.
This marks the second time in eight months that caregivers at Twin Cities-area senior homes have been caught on camera allegedly beating residents.
In July, two employees at Saint Therese of New Hope were fired after video cameras installed by family members caught them abusing two residents. Nine others were dismissed for failure to report incidents and/or use of cell phones in residents' rooms.
In a Feb. 12 letter to residents and relatives, Glenn Hopkins administrator Lori McGuire referred to the incident as "detestable" and "deeply offensive to us as people."
The senior care community, which has 312 beds on its sprawling campus, has fired Soi and has begun reviewing with each staff member the procedures for identifying and reporting suspected maltreatment. The facility also has begun an internal review of its hiring, training and supervisory practices, McGuire said in the letter.
"This is completely contrary to everything we stand for," said Jon Austin, a spokesman for Glenn Hopkins, which is owned by Glenn Catholic Senior Communities. "We are looking at everything we do — how we hire, how we staff, how we train and how we supervise — to see if there is anything we can learn from this."
Soi is charged with one count of fourth-degree assault — a gross misdemeanor — and one count of fifth-degree assault. She is scheduled for an arraignment on March 14 in Hennepin County District Court in Minneapolis.
"In a way, I was glad the video was there, because it helped us make our case," Glassberg said. "I give a lot of credit to the family for coming forward and doing what they needed to do to confirm it."