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Sunnyvale: Three nursing home workers charged with elder abuse


Original source:
http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_17532078

Mercury News
Lisa Fernandez
March 3, 2011

State agents on Wednesday arrested three nursing home workers in Sunnyvale on elder abuse charges, after authorities allege one of the assistants yanked on an elderly man's genitalia, and two other employees who knew did nothing about it.

Agents from the California Department of Justice arrested Arnold Samson, 27, of San Jose , a certified nursing assistant who has since been let go from Idylwood Care Center on West Fremont Avenue on charges of committing elder abuse and battery against a skilled nursing home resident in January.

Agents also arrested Ryan Tan, 22, of San Jose and Ricardo Martinez, 50, of Saratoga, for allegedly having knowledge of the abuse and not reporting it, as is mandated by law.

All the charges are misdemeanors, and the suspects are not in custody.

Nursing home complaints typically are routed to the Attorney General's Office, and local district attorneys typically prosecute the cases, said Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Steven Dick , who is overseeing the case.

"Patients at all nursing homes deserve to be treated with respect," Dick said. "And no form of abuse will ever be tolerated."

Idylwood spokesman Larry Kamer said he would not comment on specific aspects of the ongoing investigation, but he did confirm the three people arrested are no longer employed by the center.

"Idylwood has always placed the highest priority on ensuring the most responsible level of care for our residents,"

Kamer said in an e-mailed statement. "We have cooperated fully with the Attorney General in this investigation and will continue to do so."

According to a news release issued by the Department of Justice, agents from the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse received a "Sexual Misconduct Allegation Alert" from the Department of Public Health, Licensing and Certification Division in late January

That tip stated that a worker had seen Samson grabbing the testicles of a male resident Idylwood, and that resident had complained before about having his private parts being grabbed.

While questioning the resident about who was touching him, the employee saw Samson approach the elderly man, grab his genitalia, and make a crude comment, according to state agents. This nursing assistant reported the abuse right away, and Samson was suspended, the statement said.

Follow-up interviews by agents revealed that Samson had been seen grabbing and pulling on this man's genitalia on other occasions, and threatening to touch his private parts "in an attempt to torment him," the state Department of Justice said.

During an interview, Tan acknowledged he had seen some of this behavior, including once when Samson grabbed the man's private parts when he was sleeping to "get a rise out of him," according to the news release.

Elder abuse is a nationwide problem at certain nursing homes. But in 1998, Idylwood, owned by Crestwood Behavioral Health, was singled out as a shining example of good care -- an exception to alleged patterns of shoddy service to the elderly during a large scale investigation of nursing home chains at the time.

To report cases of elder abuse, please contact the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse hotline toll-free at 1-800-722-0432 or visit: http://ag.ca.gov/bmfea/reporting.php.

Contact Lisa Fernandez at 408-920-5002.