Personal Injury

Three victims deceased in Albert Lea ‘abuse-for-thrills’ case

An Office of Health Facility Complaints Investigative Report by the Minnesota Department of Public Health dated May 7, 2008, revealed that three of the residents who were abused by employees at the Good Samaritan Society nursing home in Albert Lea, Minn., in the much-publicized “abuse-for-thrills” case are deceased.

Brianna Marie Broitzman, 19, and Ashton Michelle Larson, 18, are charged with assault, abuse of a vulnerable adult by a caregiver, abuse of a vulnerable adult with sexual contact, disorderly conduct, and failure to report suspected maltreatment. Broitzman and Larson are face up to a year in jail and $3,000 fine if convicted.

Prosecutors say that the women held down residents, put their fingers in residents’ mouths and noses to quiet their cries for help, hit and rubbed their breasts and genitals, and sexually “humped” some residents. The aides called the humiliating abuse, “work fun to get a good laugh,” according to reports.

Four other teenaged employees have been charged in juvenile court for failing to report the abuse.

State health department investigators reviewed the medical files of all patients who were suspected of being abused, and made personal visits to the 12 survivors. All 15 patients had some form of cognitive disorder, including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Many were physically disabled and almost all required assistance with activities of daily living.

Minnesota health officials told the Associated Press this week that abuse in nursing homes is rare. However, this week the department reported another case of alleged sexual, emotional and physical abuse of six resident by a nurse’s aide at a nursing home in Montevideo, Minn. The employee, who was fired, denies the allegations. Authorities say that it is unlikely the nurse’s aide will be charged as the patients suffer from cognitive disorders that limit their ability to testify.

Albert Lea has a population of 20,000. With 240 employees, Good Samaritan Society is one of the town’s largest employers.