Family members of victims abused in the highly publicized “abuse-for-thrills” case at an Albert Lea, Minnesota, nursing home have come together to form a support group where they can talk about their painful experience and seek the support of others, according to the Albert Lea Tribune. Called Families Against Nursing Home Abuse, the group has a long-term goal to prevent abuse of vulnerable adults.
The members of the group share a terrible connection – each had a family member who was abused by a group of nursing aides at Good Samaritan Society in Albert Lea. The victims were all cognitively impaired and were subjected to abuse that included being held down, having aides’ fingers and hands over their mouths and noses to quiet their cries and screams, having their breasts and genitals rubbed and hit, and being sexually “humped” by nursing aides. A coworker who told investigators she was aware of the heinous acts said the nursing aides called the abuse “work fun or to get a good laugh.”
The group’s members were first brought together when watchdog group A Perfect Cause founder Wes Bledsoe came to Albert Lea last month to talk with family members. Bledsoe has since been called on again by the group, which spurred a second trip by the activist.
Six aides have been charged in the crime. Two of the aides – 19-year-old Brianna Broitzman and 18-year-old Ashton Larson – are charged as adults and face various charges including assault, abuse of a vulnerable adult by a caregiver, and abuse of a vulnerable adult with sexual contact. Members of the group are outraged that the charges the two aides face are considered gross misdemeanors, and the aides will likely face suspended jail sentences and probation. The group is gathering documentation for Bledsoe in hopes he can help in the fight for justice for the victims of the Albert Lea case.
Broitzman and Larson have arraignments scheduled for later this week.