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Nursing home abuse documented

Two nursing assistants fired last year from a Nash Road nursing home tried to get two incapacitated residents with diminished mental abilities to have "some form of sexual encounter" while taking pictures of them on a cell phone, according to documents obtained from the state Health Department.

Alicia J. Clemens and Gloria N. Maxwell, who worked at Northgate Health Care Facility and were identified in agency documents, brought a female patient in a wheelchair into a room shared by a married couple.

They then moved the female in the wheelchair in between the couple and tried to get the husband, who is legally blind and suffers from dementia, to touch the woman, according to documents.

The man touched the shoulder of the woman, who then exclaimed she was not his wife and told him to stop, Health Department documents said.

Clemens and Maxwell, along with a third certified nursing assistant, Heather A. Whitcomb, and a certified nursing assistant trainee, Jaclyn Cannon, were fired from Northgate after the April 14, 2010, incident.

There was no evidence the incident rose to the level of criminal activity, agency spokesman Jeffrey W. Hammond previously told The Buffalo News.

Whitcomb and Cannon saw what was happening but failed to report it to their superiors, according to the agency.

Documents also state Maxwell and Whitcomb lied during the investigation, which included a review of video surveillance from inside the nursing home.

After the state concluded its investigation, the files on a state registry for the nursing assistants were changed to show them not to be in "good standing," which is required in order to work in a nursing home.

Maxwell, now 24, was initially fined $4,000. That fine was suspended in February.

Maxwell's attorney, James D. Hartt, said his client continues to deny any responsibility in regard to this incident. Hartt said the state told him and his client that if they didn't fight the case, Maxwell would not have to pay the fine.

Maxwell's decided not to fight, but that was for reasons apart from her guilt or innocence, Hartt said.

Cannon, also now 24, was initially fined $2,000, but that amount was later dropped to $500, which she paid.

Whitcomb, who worked at Northgate since April 2003, was fined $500.

Neither Clemens, Whitcomb nor Cannon could be reached to comment.

e-mail: abesecker@buffnews.com

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