'Vulnerable adult' law leads to 3 pending cases Patient charged with sexual assault

December 31, 1991|By Jonathan Bor

The state attorney general's office has obtained two indictments and filed charges against a third person for allegedly abusing residents of three separate health care facilities, officials with the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit announced yesterday.

While two of the cases involve employees who allegedly attacked patients under their care, a third charges a 78-year-old nursing home resident with trying to sexually assault an 84-year-old man who also lived at the home.

The indictment against Jack T. Davis, a resident of the Northwest Nursing Home in Pimlico, marked the first time the attorney general's office has prosecuted a patient under a 2 1/2 -year-old statute that carves out criminal penalties for people who abuse or neglect "vulnerable adults" in nursing homes, hospitals and other health care institutions.

In the indictment, returned Dec. 19, a Baltimore grand jury accused Mr. Davis with trying to force an 84-year-old man who was mentally and physically helpless to submit to anal sex. A staff nurse stopped Mr. Davis during the alleged attempt on Sept. 28, according to Gale R. Caplan, director of the attorney general's Medicaid fraud unit.

Mr. Davis was charged with intent to commit a sex offense in the second-degree, a felony carrying a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison; sodomy, punishable by up to 10 years' confinement; and common law battery. A trial date has not yet been set.

While admitting the prosecution of Mr. Davis was unusual, Ms. Caplan said: "We prosecute every single case under our jurisdiction which we think we can prove."

Since the "vulnerable adults" statute went into effect July 1, 1989, the attorney general's office has prosecuted three people for sex offenses, Ms. Caplan said: two employees and a visitor to a nursing home.

In the two other cases announced yesterday:

* Victor Wilborne, 32, was charged in a two-count indictment yesterday with attacking a 22-year-old retarded man who was under his care at the Gallagher Center, a group home in Timonium where Mr. Wilborne worked as a residential living assistant.

Mr. Wilborne, of Baltimore, was charged with battery and one count of abuse and neglect of a vulnerable person, both misdemeanors, in the alleged Aug. 3 incident.

No trial date has been set.

* Angela K. Palladeno, 23, of Middle River was charged with striking a 94-year-old woman in the face with her hand on Oct. 15. She was employed at the time as a nurse's aide at Ivy Hall Geriatric Center in Middle River.

Ms. Palladeno was charged with battery and abuse of a vulnerable person. She awaits trial on Feb. 27.

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