[Hpn] 9 charged with abuse in probe of home

William C. Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Sun, 10 Feb 2008 10:16:55 -0500


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http://www.dailyindependent.com/local/local_story_040220102.html

February 09, 2008            =20
9 charged with abuse in probe of home

By KENNETH HART - The Independent

GRAYSON - Nine former employees of a Carter County group home for =
mentally handicapped adults have been charged in an ongoing police =
investigation of residents being abused at the facility.

The probe was launched in the wake of a resident's death in October. =
However, Grayson Police Sgt. Travis Steele, who is heading up the =
investigation, said the charges against the nine stemmed from different =
incidents.

Steele said Friday he did not have the names and ages of those charged =
at his immediate disposal. However, he identified them as Robert =
Thompson, Regina Stevens, Nicholas Adams, Earl Pelfrey, Glada Miller, =
Michael Yates, Todd Gribbin, Carl King and Ira Griffith.

All nine were charged with abuse or neglect of an adult by a caretaker, =
a felony, Steele said. The incidents that led to the charges occurred =
between April and November of last year, he said.

None of the nine still work at the group home. All were fired from their =
jobs when it became known they were being targeted by investigators, =
Steele said.

Steele said he had one more warrant yet to serve in connection with the =
probe, on which the Grayson Police Department is being assisted by the =
Kentucky Bureau of Investigation.

He also said he had just received the final medical examiner's report on =
Michael Price, a 25-year-old man with cerebral palsy who died on Oct. 14 =
while in the care of Community Presence.

With that report in hand, Steele said he would be presenting evidence =
against the man accused in Price's death to a Carter County grand jury =
this week.

Police charged Matthew Bortles, 22, of Soldier, another former Community =
Presence employee, with second-degree manslaughter and tampering with =
physical evidence in Price's death following a three-week investigation. =
Bortles was arrested Nov. 5.=20

Second-degree man-slaughter is a Class C felony that carries a prison =
sentence of five to 10 years.

The cause of Price's death hasn't been released. However, Steele told =
state investigators that statements made by two Community Presence =
direct care staff members indicated that Price, who had lived in =
Community Presence homes for seven years, died while in a prone =
restraint, the use of which is prohibited by state law.

In December, the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services revoked =
Community Presence's Medicaid certification because of staff members' =
alleged use of illegal restraint techniques. State officials also =
accused the group home of whitewashing those incidents in written =
reports, falsifying medical administration reports and records and =
videotaping residents with consent from them or their guardians.

KENNETH HART can be reached at  khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) =
326-2654.


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<DIV><SPAN class=3Ddate><FONT color=3D#660000 size=3D1>February 09,=20
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<P class=3Dstoryheadline>9 charged with abuse in probe of home</P>
<DIV><STRONG><FONT size=3D2><SPAN class=3Dstorycredit>By KENNETH HART - =
The=20
Independent</SPAN><BR></DIV></FONT></STRONG>
<P><SPAN>GRAYSON</SPAN><SPAN> =97</SPAN> <SPAN>Nine former employees of =
a Carter=20
County group home for mentally handicapped adults have been charged in =
an=20
ongoing police investigation of residents being abused at the=20
facility.<BR><BR>The probe was launched in the wake of a resident=92s =
death in=20
October. However, Grayson Police Sgt. Travis Steele, who is heading up =
the=20
investigation, said the charges against the nine stemmed from different=20
incidents.<BR><BR>Steele said Friday he did not have the names and ages =
of those=20
charged at his immediate disposal. However, he identified them as Robert =

Thompson, Regina Stevens, Nicholas Adams, Earl Pelfrey, Glada Miller, =
Michael=20
Yates, Todd Gribbin, Carl King and Ira Griffith.<BR><BR>All nine were =
charged=20
with abuse or neglect of an adult by a caretaker, a felony, Steele said. =
The=20
incidents that led to the charges occurred between April and November of =
last=20
year, he said.<BR><BR>None of the nine still work at the group home. All =
were=20
fired from their jobs when it became known they were being targeted by=20
investigators, Steele said.<BR><BR>Steele said he had one more warrant =
yet to=20
serve in connection with the probe, on which the Grayson Police =
Department is=20
being assisted by the Kentucky Bureau of Investigation.<BR><BR>He also =
said he=20
had just received the final medical examiner=92s report on Michael =
Price, a=20
25-year-old man with cerebral palsy who died on Oct. 14 while in the =
care of=20
Community Presence.<BR><BR>With that report in hand, Steele said he =
would be=20
presenting evidence against the man accused in Price=92s death to a =
Carter County=20
grand jury this week.<BR><BR>Police charged Matthew Bortles, 22, of =
Soldier,=20
another former Community Presence employee, with second-degree =
manslaughter and=20
tampering with physical evidence in Price=92s death following a =
three-week=20
investigation. Bortles was arrested Nov. 5. <BR><BR>Second-degree =
man-slaughter=20
is a Class C felony that carries a prison sentence of five to 10=20
years.<BR><BR>The cause of Price=92s death hasn=92t been released. =
However, Steele=20
told state investigators that statements made by two Community Presence =
direct=20
care staff members indicated that Price, who had lived in Community =
Presence=20
homes for seven years, died while in a prone restraint, the use of which =
is=20
prohibited by state law.<BR><BR>In December, the state Cabinet for =
Health and=20
Family Services revoked Community Presence=92s Medicaid certification =
because of=20
staff members=92 alleged use of illegal restraint techniques. State =
officials also=20
accused the group home of whitewashing those incidents in written =
reports,=20
falsifying medical administration reports and records and videotaping =
residents=20
with consent from them or their guardians.<BR><BR>KENNETH HART can be =
reached=20
at&nbsp; <A=20
href=3D"mailto:khart@dailyindependent.com">khart@dailyindependent.com</A>=
 or (606)=20
326-2654.</SPAN></P><!-- icons -->
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