Eight staff members from the Connecticut Valley Hospital charged with abusing a patient were in court on Thursday.
According to police, nine men were placed on administrative leave following the allegations of abuse inside the Whiting Division at the Middletown facility.
The men were identified as Carl Benjamin, of Hamden, Mark Cusson, of Southington, and Gregory Giantonio, of Deep River, Clayton Davis, of Hartford, Bruce Holt, of Columbia, Robert Larned, of Hebron, Willie Bethea, of Middletown, Seth Quider, of Enfield, and Lance Camby, of New Britain.
Giantonio faced a judge on Wednesday while the other eight workers appeared inside Middletown Superior Court on Thursday.
See their mug shots by clicking here.
The arrests stemmed from an investigation by the Connecticut Department of Health. A 104-page report detailed discrepancies, which included patient abuse, workers not reporting that abuse, undocumented patient information, and workers sleeping or using cell phones on the job.
Police said the abuse went on for months and was caught on surveillance cameras. Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services spokesperson Mary Kate Mason said "currently, the live video feeds are monitored 24/7, and, in addition, recorded video is randomly selected for review. The video continues to be used as a tool to determine whether formal investigations should be pursued."
One particular patient, who is monitored under video surveillance 24 hours a day seven days a week was the center of the investigation. Some allegations included staff threw food at a patient and put hand sanitizer in that person's shampoo.
"Hand sanitizer was put in his/her lotion and shampoo bottles, salt in her/her coffee and hot sauce in food. Patient #40 was kicked and bullied," court documents stated.
Mason said "record keeping and documentation are a part of the daily duties assigned to forensic treatment specialists and forensic head nurses."
Following their court appearances, some of the suspects did not want to the media while others ran out and some of their lawyers addressed the media. Attorney Salvatore Bonanno said his client denies all of the charges.
"He maintains his innocence and he will defend that and we expect to have a positive outcome," Attorney Brian J. Woolf said.
All nine workers were out on bond and return to court next month. They're on administrative leave, but are still getting paid.
Benjamin, Giantonio, Davis, Holt, Larned, Bethea, Quider and Camby are former treatment specialist while Cusson is a forensic head nurse.
Cusson is facing 16 counts and made more than $181,000 with $70,000. The salaries and total earnings for the remaining suspects are as follows: Benjamin made an annual salary of $27,000 and made a total of $60,000 Giantonio made an annual salary of $39,000 and made a total of $93,000 Davis made an annual salary of $14,000 and made a total of $77,000 Holt made an annual salary of $64,000 and made a total of $102,000 Bethea made an annual salary of $64,000 and made a total of $67,000 Quider, who was also a full-time worker at the Department of Children and Families, made an annual salary of $11,000 and made a total of $67,000 Camby made an annual salary of $59,000 and made a total of $94,000The court is expected to release the arrest warrants in 14 days.
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