2 MN. Teens Nursing Home Abuse Case Face Judge
Brianna Marie Broitzman (left) and Ashton Michelle Larson (right)
January 23, 2009
ALBERT LEA, MINN. – Two young women charged with abusing seven nursing home residents faced a judge for the first time Wednesday in a courtroom packed with relatives of the residents.
Brianna Marie Broitzman and Ashton Michelle Larson, both 19, of Albert Lea, did not enter pleas in Freeborn County District Court. Judge Steven Schwab set bail at $6,000 for their unconditional release or $2,000 with restrictions, the maximum under state law.
Each posted $2,000 bail and agreed not to contact victims or their families, other defendants or witnesses.
Last month, Broitzman was charged with 11 gross misdemeanors and Larson with 10 for fifth-degree assault, physical and sexual abuse of vulnerable adults, disorderly conduct by a caregiver and failing to report suspected abuse.
The criminal complaint described several months of abuse that included spitting in residents’ mouths, poking and groping their breasts and genitals, and at times taunting them until they screamed. The abuse allegedly occurred as the young women worked evening shifts at Good Samaritan Society Albert Lea nursing home.
The matter gained public attention in August when Minnesota Department of Health inspectors concluded that four aides had abused 15 residents with dementia between January and May of last year.
In juvenile court last week, one former aide pleaded guilty to failing to report the alleged abuse and three others denied guilt, County Attorney Craig Nelson said. Now age 18, those four were charged as juveniles because they were 17 at the time, Nelson said.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Broitzman’s attorney, Lawrence Maus of nearby Austin, said his client “is going to challenge this complaint.”
Schwab ordered the defendants to return March 23 for a pretrial hearing, when they may enter pleas.
© YellowBrix 2009