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Eight charged in case of nursing home neglect

Nursing home abuse
Defendants emerge from the courtroom after being charged today. (Sharon Cantillon / Buffalo News) 

Eight Williamsville Suburban nursing home employees were arraigned this morning in Amherst Town Court on charges of neglect and abuse.

The arrests this morning of seven women and one man capped an investigation by the state Attorney General's office into what officials called "a case of alleged abuse."

Many of the defendants were charged with various counts of endangering the welfare of an incompetent person, which is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine, said Amherst Town Justice Geoffrey K. Klein.

Many of the charges were related to incidents in April 2009 involving a 59-year-old patient with multiple disabilities at the facility at 163 South Union Road who requires a mechanized lift operated by two people. Charges brought against certified nurses' aides at the nursing home state the aides frequently only used one person to operate the lift.

163 South Union Road

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Klein released each defendant on their own recognizance and set May 12 for their return to court.

Charged today were: Linda Banks, 54, of Buffalo; Tweneboa Saow, 52, of Buffalo; Laquita Jones, 25, of Buffalo; Willena Bell, 49, of Buffalo; Diane Handley, 47, of Buffalo; Leslie Thompson, 62, of Buffalo; Deborah Groth, 61, of Buffalo; and Terri Brown, 37, of Buffalo.

The defendants and Attorney General officials declined to comment as they left the courthouse.

--Joseph Popiolkowski

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