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Two Under Arrest In Lowell Nursing Home Abuse Case

Two women from Lowell, Massachusetts were fired from their jobs as nursing home aides when video footage was discovered depicting the two women abusing and humiliating elderly residents. 23 year old Sabrina Costa and 23 year old Kala Shaniece Lopez were arrested by Lowell Police after videos they posted to the social media app “Snapchat” were reported to authorities.

According to preliminary reports, the videos showed Costa and Lopez engaging in various humiliating acts with the elderly residents of the Wingate at Belvidere nursing home located in Lowell. Initial reports have stated that some of the elderly victims are suffering from dementia. The judge ruling on the case has called the actions of Costa and Lopez “beyond reprehensible.” Of the footage amassed in this case, one clip depicts an 86 year old patient being questioned by one of the female workers about marijuana usage and their sex life—questions that were being asked while the patient, though fully clothed, was using a commode. Additional video footage shows the same elderly woman fast asleep before one of the women screams loudly, startling the patient into waking up.

Once police began their investigation, they searched the phone of Kala Lopez and found further videos of Sabrina Costa getting into bed beside a 99 year old patient before Costa wraps her arms around the patient and tells her that she loves her. The patient, clearly distraught, asks for Costa to please leave her alone. A prosecutor for the case, Tommy Noda, said the age range of the victims in these videos is between 75-99 years old. Police originally received notice of these videos on July 31st and immediately contacted representatives of the Wingate at Belvidere nursing home, only to find out that family members of these patients had already contacted the home about the disturbing videos. The nursing home stated at that time that they had begun their own investigation into the matter and that they had promptly fired Sabrina Costa and Kala Lopez following the allegations. Lowell police have indicated that both women were positively identified in the videos.

Lopez has stated to police that she and Costa were merely joking, but those involved in this case do not find it to be a laughing matter. Both Costa and Lopez pleaded not guilty to three counts each of “permitting abuse on an elder or disabled person.” In addition to this charge, Sabrina Costa also faces charges for assault and battery of someone over 60 years of age or disabled. The attorneys for Costa and Lopez have said that their clients were fired from the Wingate at Belvidere nursing home and were expected to lose their licenses for certified nursing home aides, as well.

The vice president of operations for Wingate at Belvidere, Edward Blake, has said that the company is cooperating with authorities during the pending investigation. “As soon as we heard of the allegations we immediately started an investigation, made all of the proper notifications, and the employees have since been terminated,” Blake said in a statement he issued in regards to the matter. He has also stated that Wingate prides itself on protecting their patient’s privacy, safety, and dignity, and ensures that necessary measures will be taken to assure that this will remain an isolated incident.

Reports have indicated that the family members of the patients subjected to the humiliating acts performed by Costa and Lopez have been informed of the incidents that took place and the subsequent videos depicting these incidents.

Sabrina Costa and Kala Lopez were ordered to be held without bail by the prosecution but the judge ruling on the case, Ellen Caulo, rejected the request for bail and released the women. Upon their release, Judge Ellen Caulo ordered that Costa and Lopez were not to have contact with any of the victims and neither of them will be permitted to work at a nursing home facility or health care agency in the future. Their pretrial conference is expected to take place on September 22nd.

 

Additional quotes and information may be found at the following links: www.lo626021/police-aides-posted-humiliating-videos-lowell-nursing-home

http://www.whdh.com/story/29763888/2-lowell-women-arraigned-on-elder-abuse-charges