MIDDLETOWN - Six more workers from the Whiting Forensic Division of Connecticut Valley Hospital have been put on administrative leave in connection to the ongoing investigation of patient abuse.
This brings the total of staff members suspended from 31 to 37.
A spokesperson from the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, who oversees the hospital, released the following statement:
“The unsealing of the arrest warrants brought the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services' attention to the possible involvement of additional staff related to the investigation of allegations of abuse of a patient at the Whiting Forensic Division. Based on this information, six additional Whiting Forensic staff members have been placed on paid administrative leave for allegedly failing to report on the abuse of a patient. As the investigation is ongoing, additional administrative action may be taken as appropriate.”
In early September nine workers were arrested and accused of abusing a patient.
The patient at the center of the abuse is a 59-year-old man who’s treatment orders called for a two-on-one staff to patient ration and 24-hour a day supervision. There was video camera located in his room for patient monitoring.
The arrest warrants outlined what police claim they witnessed on the video footage from the patient’s room. Several of the accused are allegedly seen on video kicking the patient repeatedly, in many cases while he laid in his bed.
Eight of the arrested workers are forensic specialist technicians. The ninth, Mark Cusson, worked as a forensic nurse.
Cusson’s accusations run the gamut of police claiming he poured liquid over the patient’s head, rubbed a used mop on the patients head, and beyond. Police detailed Cussons is seen on the footage approaching the patient’s bed, then “mounts the patient’s bed and straddles himself over the patent placing his groin in the patient’s face. Cusson then makes a back and forth motion towards the patient’s face with his groin.” The court record goes on to say there two other workers in the room at the time of this incident.
Cusson’s lawyer, Stephen Woolf, maintains client’s innocence. He told FOX61, “He believes that he’s innocent, we believe we have a lot of information that is not yet available to the public.” He went on to say Cusson has been “a very dedicated long time employee of Whiting Forensic.” He added there is more to the case than just the video, which he claims is not visually clear.
Another of the accused, Lance Camby, 48, of New Britain, is reportedly seen on the footage putting a diaper on the patient’s head, while Willie Bethea, 45, of Middletown, is allegedly seen poking the patient. He later told police he believes he “patted” the patient on the cheek but claimed he believes the “patient enjoys a degree of playful physical contact.”
In the arrest warrant of Gregory Giantonio, 43, of Deep River, it’s stated that he’s seen kicking the patient and is seen in the patient's room for some of Cusson’s alleged abuse. Giantonio told police he never abused or witnessed anyone abusing the patient.
The Whiting Forensic Division is a state funded maximum security psychiatric hospital located in Middletown.
The facility is overseen by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Following the newly released arrest warrants, they stated, “The Department remains steadfast in its commitment to ensuring that justice is served for our client. The affidavits underscore the importance of the Department’s actions to immediately involve the Connecticut State Police in the investigation into alleged client abuse.”
The following individuals have been arrested: