Pennsylvania Nursing Home Workers Caught Abusing Woman on Hidden Camera

Woman, 78, was taunted and hit while half naked.

April 7, 2011, 12:09 PM

April 7, 2011 — -- Family members of a 78-year-old woman used a hidden camera to capture Haverford, Pennsylvania, nursing home employees hitting and taunting the woman, who suffers from dementia.

The video shows employees at the Quadrangle senior living facility hitting the woman, pulling at her sensitive ears, poking her eye and refusing to help her put on her shirt.

"The video depicts criminal activity directed at a senior victim in our county," Delaware County District Attorney Michael Green said. "It's abusive. ... It's the humiliation which is most difficult to watch on the video. No senior resident of a facility should be subjected to that kind of behavior, particularly from a health care provider."

Ayesha Muhammad, 19, was arrested today and charged with aggravated assault and simple assault. Tyrina Griffin, 21, was arrested Wednesday and charged with the same offenses. Haverford police arrested Samirah Traynham, 22, on Monday and charged her with six offenses, including aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person and harassment. The investigation is ongoing.

The camera, hidden in a bedroom clock, was placed in Lois McCallister's room by her daughter and son-in-law after Quadrangle officials denied that the woman was being abused.

Video Shows Half-Naked Elderly Woman Being Hit, Laughed At

The 12-minute video shows three employees taunting McCallister, who was housed in the Holly Building, designed for those living with severe dementia.

"During the majority of the 12-minute encounter recorded by the camera, McCallister stood naked from the waist up attempting to cover her breasts," the court affidavit reads.

The grainy video taken March 31 shows McCallister struggling to pull a long sleeve shirt over her head, according to the affidavit.

When the shirt becomes stuck on her head, the recently arrested Traynham is seen placing her left hand underneath the shirt. The video shows the Quadrangle employee striking McCallister in the face and head, according to court documents.

When the woman gets into bed, Traynham is shown shoving her body down toward the pillow.

Later, Traynham is shown entering McCallister's room, again with Griffin and Muhammad.

Traynham tugs at McAllister's shirt while she is lying in bed, trying to remove it.

The video has no audio, but police say that it appears as if the elderly McAllister is verbally resisting the removal of her shirt.

Once her shirt is removed, the three employees can be seen laughing at her.

McAllister is shown heading toward her bedroom to escape the nursing home employees, but they pull her back.

The 21-year-old Griffin begins dancing on one of the posts belonging to McAllister's bed as if dancing on a "stripper pole," according to court documents.

"After putting a shirt on McCallister, Griffin is shown slapping at the left and right ear of McCallister, which are overly sensitive after the loss of her hearing aids," the affidavit reads.

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Nursing Home Workers Caught on Camera 'Shadow Boxing' and Poking Elderly Woman's Eye

Then, McCallister sits on her bed while Griffin mocks her, acting as if she's shadow boxing with her.

Muhammad then pokes the eye of the woman.

Not knowing what the hidden camera had captured, McCallister's daughter and son-in-law, Mary and Paul Franch, showed up for one of their regular visits with the woman five minutes after the abuse had taken place.

They described McCallister as agitated, and she repeatedly asked them, "Why do they keep picking on me?" according to the affidavit.

The couple went to nursing home officials in early March, saying that McCallister told them she'd been hit and slapped.

Quadrangle officials attributed the allegations to the woman's dementia.

After spotting bruises on the woman's wrist and left hand, McCallister's daughter and son-in-law had the camera installed.

"Many dementia patients can communicate some things in a way that is somewhat lucid if you know them well and work with them on a regular basis as these folks [the French couple] did," District Attorney Green said.

McCallister is now living with her daughter and son-in-law.

The organization that runs the Quadrangle facility, Sunrise Senior Living, issued a statement saying that the employees in the video have been fired.

"Our number one concern, above all else, is the safety of our residents. We have a number of policies and procedures in place that address their welfare and are intended to prevent any inappropriate activity in our community," said executives in a written statement.

Brent Russell from Sunrise Senior Living told ABC affiliate WPVI that they were cooperating with police in the investigation.

"Any harm that comes to any of our residents, we are certainly the people who are most eager to make sure that justice is done," Russell said.

The video that was taken is legal because it had no audio, and McCallister's daughter and son-in-law had legal authority over the elderly woman to put a camera in her room, Green said.

The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare has also launched a separate investigation into the alleged abuse.

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