Guilty Plea in Victoria Falls Elder Abuse Case
Written by Jeff Meyer on September 6, 2015
An Andover nursing home attendant has pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of mistreating an adult dependent stemming from a nursing home abuse video surreptitiously recorded by the victim’s family. Geofrey Nyangweso, who pled no contest as part of a plea bargain reducing his original charge of felony abuse of an adult dependent, addressed the court by stating that he did not feel that he had ever done anything to harm any of his patients. The incident, which was recorded following suspicions of family members regarding the care of their sixty-year-old relative Donna Colcher, occurred in September of 2013. The disturbing video, which was used by state prosecutors at trial, depicts Nyangweso verbally and physically abusing the elderly patient, as the patient screams to other staff members for assistance.
Colcher came to the Victoria Falls nursing care facility in Andover eight months prior, following medical complications that left Colcher requiring assisted living care. Initially, family members felt relieved to find a place for Colcher, however, soon began to suspect signs of abuse. As numerous nursing home abuse awareness organizations have noted, these signs can include:
- Reticence of the elderly person to discuss injuries or other medical complications that puzzle or worry relatives
- Vague or unfinished comments about ongoing mistreatment by staff members at a given facility, but otherwise not fully explained by the elderly person, often out of fear of bothering family members or incurring retaliation from staff members
- Change in social behavior, including withdrawal from normal routines, communication methods, sudden depression, and isolation from both relatives, friends, and other patients at a given facility
- Observed instances of difficult or adversarial relationships between the patient and caregivers at a nursing home facility, as observed by family or friends during visits
In the case of Colcher, the warning signs that induced family members to place a hidden video camera device in their relative’s room remain unclear, however, their instincts proved accurate. Less than eight months into the sixty-year-old nursing home patient’s residence at Victoria Falls, the video camera device recorded the incident of physical and verbal abuse that led to Mr. Nyangweso’s arrest and conviction. Following the incident, the nurse’s license to practice in the state was suspended, with the Kansas Board of Healing Arts requesting that the court take measures to remove Nyangweso’s licensure permanently in light of the crimes committed in a professional nursing capacity with the judge ultimately mandating that Nyangweso never work in proximity with patients in the future.
For more information on this story, as well as critical information from state authorities should you suspect ongoing elder abuse in any context, consult with the references below to obtain help. Likewise, consulting with an attorney in any nursing home abuse case is highly advisable, as having a legal advocate in these and similar cases will always prove beneficial.