Woman charged with abusing assisted-living patient

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A Green Bay woman is charged with abusing a patient at an assisted-living facility.

Brown County Jail photo

Latisha Walker, 20, was charged in Brown County court on Friday with Intentional Abuse of Patients Causing Bodily Harm (Assault), a felony, and Disorderly Conduct, a misdemeanor.

The felony is punishable by up to three-and-a-half years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted.

According to the criminal complaint from prosecutors, a former nurse's aide at an assisted-living facility in Ledgeview contacted the Brown County Sheriff's Office with concerns about how patients were treated there, and felt it amounted to elder abuse.

The complaint identified the facility as Angel's Assisted Living, but Action 2 News confirmed the property on Arcadian Lane was sold last May to a new owner and now operates as Caraton Commons.

Adult Protective Services said it was aware of a number of issues at the facility, including a report of a dementia patient being punched by a staff member the day before sheriff's deputies reached out to APS.

That patient told investigators that on October 7, a staff member was arguing with someone on the phone then took a swing at him. He said the punch just grazed him and didn't hurt him.

The facility's report for October 7 said a staff member identified as L.W. said that patient hit her in the face with his hand as yelled an expletive at him. L.W. said she told him he can't put his hands on her and she backed away because the patient is bigger than she is and the patient left her.

But the CNA said she was a witness to the incident and gave a different account to deputies. She said the patient swore at Walker but Walker swore back at him and "squared up" with him with her hands balled up into fists. She grabbed the patient's arm with one hand and punched him in the jaw with the other. Another employee confirmed the patient had a red mark on his jaw.

An employee who was in the parking lot overheard the shouting and said she saw Walker strike the man. She told deputies, "I believe that this is an assault."

"She said that she did not hit him, her story remains the same. She did not hit him," said Marceanie Walker, Latisha's mother who spoke to Action 2 News after her daughter's initial appearance in court.

"I’m worried and I’m concerned and it hurts for someone to say that about her," said Marceanie. "It really hurts deep down inside. All I can do is pray and help my child, because that’s what I’m gonna do."

During an interview with an investigator this Thursday, Walker admitted to yelling and swearing before the incident, but said the patient punched her, not the other way around. She gave a written statement saying in part, "I take responsibility for being aggressive and disrespectful at the time, but I did not assault anyone."

Online records from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services show two on-site investigations were done at two of the assisted living buildings on Arcadian, but no wrong-doing was found.