Personal Injury

Judge to decide if nursing aide abuse case goes to trial

Nineteen-year-old Brianna Broitzman told a judge this week she is not responsible for physically and sexually abusing cognitively impaired residents at the Good Samaritan nursing home in the Albert Lea, Minn., nursing home where she worked as a nursing aide. Broitzman is one of four teenagers charged with abusing 15 residents at the home. She and former coworker Ashton Larson, who was 18 at the time of the incident, are the only two being charged as adults.

According to police reports, the nursing home workers held down residents, put their fingers in residents’ mouths and noses to quiet their screams and cries for help, hit and rubbed their breasts and genitals, and sexually “humped” the residents. It was all done as some sort of sick on-the-job entertainment, according to coworkers’ reports.

The attack-for-thrills case has made headlines across the country and spurred the creation of an advocacy group for called Families Against Nursing Home Abuse. The group is made up of family members of victims. Jan Reshetar and Myrna Sorensen are the co-founders of the organization and have started their own blog, which can be found at FamiliesAgainstNursingHomeAbuse.Blogspot.com.

“It’s been over one year since we first got the phone call that Mom ‘may or may not be a victim of what may or may not be abuse,’” the daughter writes in her first entry, which tells the gripping story of how she copes with the realization that her mother was among those targeted by the nursing aides. “I question things now. I question what kind of world we live in. I question respect. I ask how we have lost respect for the people in their care; for each other.”

It is up to the judge to decide if the statements made by Broitzman’s coworkers can be used against her and if there is enough evidence to take the case to trial. Meanwhile, the families of the victims, such as the founder of Families Against Nursing Home Abuse, will fight for justice: “I think. I question. I wonder. I wish. I advocate. I pray. Tomorrow, I will pick up where I left off today. I will make the phone calls. I will write the letters. I will work for policy, procedure, training and laws that will help the elderly.”