Two employees at a Lowell, Massachusetts, nursing home are accused of abusing residents of the facility and posting videos of the abuse on the social media site Snapchat.
At about 2 p.m. on July 31, Lowell police were called to Wingate at Belvidere Nursing Home on Wentworth Avenue after relatives claimed that 23-year-old Sabrina Costa and 22-year-old Kala Shaniece Lopez had posted inappropriate videos of nursing home residents on Snapchat, New England Cable News (NECN) reports.
Prosecutors say one video shows a patient being asked about sex and marijuana and in another video, one of the aides scares a patient by yelling at her while she was sound asleep. According to court documents, Lopez told police “it’s just a joke.” She said the two women “just wanted some laughs.” The documents also indicate that a friend of Lopez saw the videos and informed the home’s administrators. The friend said other videos had been posted, but none this disturbing, according to NECN.
Lopez was charged with permitting abuse on an elderly or disabled person and Costa was charged with assault and battery on an elderly or disabled person and permitting abuse on an elderly or disabled person. The two women were arraigned in Lowell District Court and were released on condition that they have no contact with the victims and not work with the elderly in a health care capacity.
Wingate at Belvidere later released a statement. The statement said that Wingate at Belvidere was informed on July 29 that two employees used a cell phone to make videos of residents and they shared the videos through social media. “Management immediately started an investigation,” the statement said, “which included the suspension of the employees alleged to be involved. The investigation revealed that the employees violated Wingate at Belvidere’s strict policies concerning patient safety and privacy of three residents and as a result, these individuals were terminated.” Wingate at Belvidere said it confirmed that no private health information, such as names or clinical information was captured on the videos, NECN reports.
The women will appear in court again on September 22, according to NECN.