More arrests made in abuse case at Whiting Forensic

MIDDLETOWNState Police have arrested another six people for a total nine on Tuesday in an investigation of patient abuse at the Whiting Forensic Division.

Police accused staff members of abusing a patient. Police said after the abuse was discovered, the patient was relocated and the identified staff members were placed on administrative leave.

Police said the investigation is ongoing and additional arrests are anticipated. The following individuals have been arrested as of this date:

Benjamin

Carl Benjamin. 39, of Hamden, was arrested Tuesday and charged with six counts of cruelty to persons, six counts of disorderly conduct.  He was held on $75,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

 

 

Cusson

Mark Cusson, 49, of Southington, was arrested Tuesday and charged with eight counts of cruelty to persons, eight counts of disorderly conduct.  He was held on $75,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

 

 

Giantonio

Gregory Giantonio, 43, of Deep River, was arrested Tuesday and charged with three counts of cruelty to persons, three counts of disorderly conduct.  He was held on $75,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.

 

 

 

Seth Quider, 34, of Enfield, was arrested Tuesday and charged with six counts of cruelty to persons and six counts of disorderly conduct.  He was held on $75,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

 

 

Lance Camby, 48, of New Britain, was arrested Tuesday and charged with five counts of cruelty to persons, and five counts of disorderly conduct.  He was held on $75,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

 

 

Clayton Davis, 48, of Hartford  was arrested Tuesday and charged with five counts of cruelty to persons, and five counts of disorderly conduct.  He was held on $25,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

 

 

Bruce Holt, 39 of Columbia was arrested Tuesday and charged with two counts of cruelty to persons, and two counts of disorderly conduct.  He was held on $25,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

 

 

Robert Larned, 45, of Hebron, was arrested Tuesday and charged with five counts of cruelty to persons, and five counts of disorderly conduct.  He was held on $25,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

 

 

Willie Bethea, 45, of Middletown, was arrested Tuesday and charged with two counts of cruelty to persons, and two counts of disorderly conduct.  He was held on $25,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

 

 

Dr. Karen Kangas is the co-conservator of a 59-year-old male patient inside Whiting Forensic Division in Middletown. Dr. Kangas said it was surveillance video from inside this patients' room that led to the suspension of 29 employees in April over allegations of abuse.

Employees and managers at the psychiatric hospital have been suspended amid allegations of patient abuse at the maximum-security facility.

The Hartford Courant reported that 31 employees, including 2 managers, at the Whiting Forensic Division at Connecticut Valley Hospital in Middletown were suspended. That’s up from 11 employees when the investigation was confirmed on April 4.

“I have never seen anything of this magnitude and I’ve spent most of my professional life working in this area of the law,” said John Williams, a renowned New Haven civil rights attorney, reacting to the number of employees placed on paid leave, which more than doubled in three weeks.

The Department of Public Health released a more than 100-page report detailing the allegations of patient abuse, last week.

According to the report observed and documented acts of abuse include physical, mental, sexual, along with neglect and exploitation.

Abusive acts, according to the report, includes,  “Putting hand sanitizer in his/her lotion and shampoo bottles, salt in his/her coffee and hot sauce in food,” the patient was reportedly kicked and buillied.

Surveillance tapes from March revealed staff put their feet on the patients bed, threw food at the patient, and even put a diaper on his/her head, according to the report.

After being given a glass of liquid from a staff member, the patient grabbed the cup and it fell on the floor and the report states the staff member firs cleaned it with a sheet from the patients bed and was later observed, “mopping the wet floor and then placed the dirty, wet, mop head on Patient #40’s head, moving the mop back and forth in a jabbing motion.”

The report states the staff member was observed moving the mop from the floor to the patients head about 3 times.

According to the report, there were as many as staff members present during some or all of the abusive acts that failed to report them.

The state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services said it is appalled by the nature of these abuse allegations and said it has taken corrective action on most of the findings included in the report.

"We put in more cameras,” DMHAS Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon said. “We're reviewing the cameras both live and retrospectively.”
She said the department has since conducted staff training regarding reporting incidents.

“You know a number of individuals are out so we hired more staff to be able to provide quality care,” she said.

“That level of brutality and mistreatment cannot go on without it being known by the people, who are supposedly running the store,” said Williams.

Whiting Forensic Division acting director Thomas Ward-McKinley was among those suspended.

“For the Commissioner to take action like that indicates that much more likely than not that there’s plenty of fire where that smoke is,” said Williams.