For Abusing Paraplegic Patient at Nursing Home, Man Gets 18 Months in Prison

Written by NHAbuseGuide on June 5, 2015

In May 2015, Ronald Butler, Jr. pleaded guilty to abusing a Chandler Health and Rehab Center patient after signing a plea deal. The patient, who was a paraplegic that was unable to speak after sustaining a severe head injury, was assaulted while lying in his bed at the facility.

Butler’s plea deal required him to admit that he was guilty of felony intentional abuse of a protected person. As a part of the agreement, he was sentenced to a 10-year prison sentence. However, he will only be required to spend 18 months of the sentence in jail, with the remainder being suspended. After his release, Butler will serve an additional four years of supervised probation.

The Charges

Butler learned when he agreed to the plea deal in court that the prosecutors’ in the case would have shown that he struck Cecil Pierson about his face and head on April 28, 2012. He was also charged with emotional abuse due to removing the patient’s call light, but that charge was removed as a part of the agreement.

Butler was one of four people who were charged with abuse at the Chandler nursing home. However, he was the only one who was not acquitted of his charges.

Civil Lawsuit

Hazel Blevins, Pierson’s mother, filed a civil lawsuit against Butler and the Chandler Health and Rehab Center in April of 2014. Butler, who was listed as a nurse’s assistant, along with others who were originally charged with the abuse, included allegations of “a pattern and practice of intentional infliction of emotional and physical abuse of Plaintiff while he was a patient in the Defendant’s facility.” These allegations included a number of claims alleging that those included in the lawsuit inflicted multiple batteries and assaults on the Plaintiff while he was helpless in his bed and unable to defend himself. This is currently an ongoing litigation in Shelby County Circuit Court.

Nursing Home Abuse

While many would like to believe that the above case is just one incident, the reality is that around 1 in 10 seniors suffer abuse at the hands of their caregivers. It is also estimated that for every case of abuse reported, around six others remain unreported due to the victim fearing retaliation from his or her abuser. Still others, like Cecil Pierson, are unable to speak about their abuse, which means it is up to the family and loved ones to notice the problem and report it so that it can be stopped.

Nursing home abuse can take a variety of forms beyond physical violence. These can include:

  • Mental or Psychological Abuse – This can include threats of violence, refusing to care for the person or even verbal abuse.
  • Sexual Abuse – Any kind of unwanted sexual advances or touches that the elderly person does not want or agree to
  • Financial Exploitation – Stealing money or property from an elderly victim, forcing him or her to sign financial documents or checks or forging signatures
  • Neglect – Failing to provide adequate care, including nourishment, to ensure the best possible health
  • Abandonment – Leaving an elderly or frail person on his or her own, knowing that he or she will be unable to take care of themselves properly – especially if the responsible party has already assumed care

While not all cases of senior abuse take place in nursing homes, many of them do. By being aware of the possibility for abuse, you can take action to protect your loved one. If you suspect that you or an elderly loved one has suffered abuse, it is important that you report it immediately to the proper authorities.

Sources:

http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2015/05/for_abusing_paraplegic_patient.html

https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-elder-abuse

http://www.alfa.org/document.asp?docid=261

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