Attorney general says caregiver at Timonium nursing center admits to slapping patient

Former employee pleads guilty in 2010 incident

January 20, 2012

A 58-year-old Baltimore woman has been convicted of one count of abuse of a vulnerable adult in the second degree, stemming from a 2010 incident at a Timonium nursing center.

According to a press release from the Maryland Attorney General's Office, Circuit Court Judge Robert Cahill Jr. this week accepted the guilty plea of Shirleen Diane Sheppard, 58, and issued a three-year suspended prison sentence.

Sheppard was placed on three years' probation and was ordered to perform 150 hours of community service within 12 months, and is prohibited from being employed as a geriatric nursing assistant during the full term of probation, according to the release.

According to Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler, the charges arose out of an October 2010 incident at Stella Maris, a nursing home and care facility in Timonium, where the defendant worked as a geriatric nursing assistant.

The attorney general's office alleged that while attending to an 82-year-old resident, Sheppard became angry and slapped the patient in the face. The defendant then refused to place ointment on a rash of the patient. Sheppard then removed the assistance call button from the patient's reach, according to the attorney general.

Another nursing assistant witnessed what happened, rendered proper care to the patient and reported the incident to authorities at the facility, the attorney general said.

The patient did not suffer permanent physical injury, and Stella Maris conducted an immediate investigation and fired Sheppard after she admitted to the incident, according to the attorney general's statement.

Gansler state that at a Jan. 18 Circuit Court hearing, Sheppard did not contest the charge against her, and admitted her guilt, resulting in the ruling by Cahill.

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