9 Connecticut psych hospital employees charged in patient-abuse scandal

Police on Tuesday arrested nine mental health workers involved in a patient-abuse scandal at Middletown-based Connecticut Valley Hospital's Whiting Forensic Division, according to the Hartford Courant.

Here are seven things to know about the scandal.

1. Connecticut Valley Hospital is a state-operated public hospital for patients with mental illness. The hospital's Whiting unit is a maximum security forensic division, which usually houses patients who have been acquitted of crimes due to mental illness, according to the report.

2. The state Department of Public Health investigated the facility this summer after a whistleblower called attention to video-taped evidence of the prolonged and sustained abuse of a 62-year-old patient.

3. The patient was admitted to the hospital in 1995 after being acquitted by reason of insanity for the death of his elderly father. The video evidence allegedly shows multiple staff members kicking, jabbing, poking and taunting the patient over a period of weeks in early 2017. The video also allegedly shows employees throwing food and liquids on the patient, pulling a sheet over the patient's head and, in one instance, placing an incontinent diaper on his head, among other transgressions.

4. While the patient's court-ordered commitment to the hospital has expired, he remains at the facility because his mental illness prohibits him from functioning outside the hospital.

5. In its 102-page report on the investigation, the state Department of Public Health said as many as 40 individuals employed in the Whiting unit had either participated in the patient abuse or witnessed the abuse and not reported it. Twenty-nine direct care workers and two nurse managers were subsequently suspended as a result of the investigation.

6. The state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services said it is fully cooperating with the criminal investigation. On Tuesday, the department said it "finds the nature of the abuse described in the allegations reprehensible. The arrests reinforce that this type of behavior will not be tolerated within our service system," according to the Hartford Courant.

7. All arrested individuals have been charged with varying counts of cruelty to persons and disorderly conduct. State police said more arrests are forthcoming.

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