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Last updated: Tue. Feb. 11, 2014 - 04:16 pm EDT

2 ex-AWS staffers named in abuse

Camera reveals slapping, neglect

Two former employees of Anthony Wayne Services face felony charges after a hidden camera showed them slapping and repeatedly neglecting a mentally impaired patient.

Francis Udoh, 54, and Chukwuemeka Estou, 26, each face a felony charge of neglect of a dependent. Neither of the men had been arrested Monday afternoon.

Estou, of the 2800 block of Canterbury Boulevard, was hired by AWS in January 2010, and Udoh, of the 3000 block of Kinglsey Drive, was hired in February 2007, according to court documents.

Both attended courses on client abuse, neglect and exploitation as part of orientation. Udoh also completed training specific to the patient, the documents said.

The patient in their care had a history of hurting himself and was required to have 24-hour supervision. His caregivers were also required to check on him every 15 minutes while he was asleep, the documents said.

In August 2012, AWS administrators contacted the patient's sister to report the potential abuse.

An investigator with the Indiana Attorney General's Office recommended a motion-activated camera be placed in the patient's room.

On Sept. 1, 2012, the patient's brother and sister placed a radio clock with a hidden camera on a shelf near the patient's bed.

Later that day, the hidden camera showed Esotu walking into the patient's room and slapping him across the face, according to court documents.

The recording also showed Esotu as he forced the patient to lie down by shoving his face and later slapped the patient's foot off the bed rail.

According to court documents, Esotu lied about how often he checked on the patient in his patient records.

The camera also recorded that Udoh failed to check on the patient several times during multiple shifts, leaving him unattended for more than six hours.

On Sept. 2, 2012, the patient's diaper had not been changed for more than 13 hours.

Several days later, the hidden camera shows Udoh walking into the patient's room and shoving his legs off the bed rail. Udoh was also seen tossing the patient's blankets over his head before leaving the room, according to court documents.

The patient is seen yelling five times while Udoh ignored him.

Udoh was fired after he reportedly lied to AWS administrators about how often he checked on the patient.

Barb Wachtman, director of communications for AWS, released a statement Monday.

"AWS takes very seriously any failures in providing the highest standards of care and respect to all individuals we serve. This is why the persons referenced in these events, which occurred in late 2012, were suspended immediately and then terminated, and why AWS has worked closely with authorities in all aspects of this investigation," the statement said. "As part of AWS' continuous quest for quality improvement, we invited outside experts to review training and supervision processes, all of which have been fortified. Ultimately, all of these actions further advance our goals to ensure the health, safety and respect of individuals with intellectual disabilities."

jcrothers@jg.net


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