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Nursing Home Patient Abuse Posted on Snapchat

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    Elder Abuse Recorded on Snapchat

    (Published Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015)

    Two nursing home employees from Lowell, Massachusetts, are accused of abusing residents of the facility and posting videos of the incident on Snapchat.

    Around 2 p.m. on July 31, Lowell Police were called to Wingate at Belvidere Nursing Home on Wentworth Avenue after relatives claimed that inappropriate videos of the nursing home residents had been posted on Snapchat by 23-year-old Sabrina Costa and 22-year-old Kala Shaniece Lopez.

    In one video, prosecutors say one of the patients is asked about sex and marijuana. In another, one of the aides scares a patient by yelling at her while she was sound asleep.

    Court Documents show that Lopez told police "it's just a joke" and that they "just wanted some laughs." The documents also show that it was a friend of Lopez who saw the videos and tipped off administrators. That friend said there had been other videos, but nothing this disturbing.

    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. They were arraigned Tuesday in Lowell District Court.

    The defendants were released under the condition that they have no contact with the victims and do not work with the elderly in a health care capacity. Information on their attorney was not immediately available. They will appear in court on Sept. 22. 

    Wingate at Belvidere later released a statement, reading in part: 

    “On July 29, 2015, it was reported to Wingate at Belvidere management that two individual employees used a cell phone to video residents and shared the videos with some of their contacts. Management immediately started an investigation, 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. We were able to confirm that no private health information, such as names or clinical information was captured on the videos."