Two nursing home employees in Lowell, Massachusetts, are accused of abusing residents of the facility and posting humiliating videos of the abuse on Snapchat.
Lowell Police were called to Wingate at Belvidere Nursing Home on Wentworth Avenue around 2 p.m. on July 31, after relatives told police that inappropriate videos of nursing home residents had been posted on Snapchat by 23-year-old Sabrina Costa and 22-year-old Kala Shaniece Lopez, New England Cable News (NECN) reports.
In one video, prosecutors say a patient is asked about sex and marijuana, and in another, one of the aides scares a patient by yelling at her while she was asleep. Court documents indicate that Lopez told police “it’s just a joke” and that the two employees “just wanted some laughs,” according to NECN. The documents also show that a friend of Lopez’s saw the videos and informed administrators. The friend said the women had posted other videos, but none as disturbing as these.
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 women were arraigned on Tuesday in Lowell District Court. They were released on condition that they have no contact with the victims and do not work with the elderly in a health care capacity. They will next appear in court on Sept. 22, NECN reports.
Wingate at Belvidere released a statement saying the facility had been informed on July 29 that two employees had used a cell phone to make videos of residents and they then shared the videos with some of their contacts. Management “immediately started an investigation,” Wingate at Belvidere’s statement said, and the home suspended the two employees “alleged to be involved.” The statement said the employees violated Wingate at Belvidere’s policies concerning the safety and privacy of three residents and as a result, these employees were terminated, NEN reports. Wingate at Belvidere was able to confirm that “no private health information, such as names or clinical information was captured on the videos,” according to the statement.