Video: Teens charged in nursing home abuse

updated 12/4/2008 4:37:46 PM ET 2008-12-04T21:37:46

Two teenage girls who worked at a nursing home have been charged with abuse, accused of taunting, spitting on and groping the breasts and genitals of residents who suffered from Alzheimer's disease and other dementia disorders.

According to the criminal complaint, filed Monday, 19-year-old Brianna Broitzman and 18-year-old Ashton Larson laughed earlier this year as they spat in residents' mouths, poked and grabbed them, and at times mocked them until they screamed.

Broitzman and Larson, who worked as part-time aides at the home, have been charged as adults.

Larson's father disputed the charges against his daughter in a statement issued to and read on NBC's "Today" show Thursday.

"Not all of the charges are as they appear. Much of this has been distorted by the news media," Michael Larson said in the statement.

"My daughter was doing nothing more than performing the duties of her job."

No one answered the phone Thursday morning at Broitzman's home. There was no information in court records on attorneys for either teen.

Complaint: Eight teens involved
Four other teens who worked with them at the Good Samaritan Society were charged as juveniles for failing to report the incidents.

A total of eight teens were allegedly involved in the incidents, but there was no record of criminal charges being filed against two of them.

Broitzman and Larson are charged with assault, abuse of a vulnerable adult by a caregiver, abuse of a vulnerable adult with sexual contact, disorderly conduct and failing to report suspected maltreatment. All are gross misdemeanors.

If found guilty, Broitzman and Larson "most likely will face suspended jail sentences and probation, so they'd have the threat of jail hanging over them if they get in more trouble," Freeborn County Attorney Craig Nelson told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis.

The Minnesota Department of Health released a report in August showing that 15 residents with Alzheimer's disease or other dementia disorders were abused at the facility between Jan. 1 and May 1.

Group allegedly laughed about incidents
According to the complaint filed Monday, one of the aides said the group gathered at work or school to "talk and laugh about the incidents."

Mark Anderson, administrator at the Good Samaritan Society in Albert Lea, told WCCO-TV that the past few months have been difficult for the staff, the home's residents and their families.

"We are just really thankful that the proceedings are moving forward and hopefully can see some closure to this whole process," Anderson said.

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