A former nursing home employee has been charged after she allegedly took a video of a mostly nude resident sitting on a bed posted it to Snapshot.
Grace Riedlinger, 21, of Pleasant Prairie, is charged with capturing an image of nudity without consent for the Jan. 5 incident.
The video was reported to the nursing home by someone who had seen the video on the social networking app Snapchat.
Court Commissioner Jon G. Mason called this case “one of the most disgusting cases I’ve heard in a long time,” as he invited attorneys to make arguments about whether Riedlinger — who is charged with a felony — should be released on bond.
She will be released from custody, with the promise that she pay $10,000 if she violates the conditions of her release, which include not returning to Parkside Manor or being on the premises of any nursing home or assisted living facility.
“I wonder how she would feel if someone did this to her mother,” Mason said. “I cannot fathom what would possess someone to do something like this and then post it on the Internet.”
Kenosha police went to Parkside Manor, 6300 67th St., on Jan. 11 for a reported computer crime, according to the criminal complaint. The executive director told police that Riedlinger admitted to her that she recorded a resident. Riedlinger no longer works at the facility.
The woman in the video is 93 years old and has Alzheimer's disease and dementia. She was unable to tell police what had happened, the complaint states.
Police viewed the video, which showed the woman sitting on a bed, wearing only a bra.
When Riedlinger talked to police she said the woman had been giving her a hard time while she tried getting the woman ready for bed. She said the woman was playing tug of war with her, and decided to record it and post it as a story on Snapchat.
The story could be viewed only be her friends, and would disappear after about 24 hours.
ProPublica released a report last month highlighting a growing problem of nursing home workers posting “embarrassing and dehumanizing photos” on social media networks.
Their investigation found 35 instances in the past four years where workers “surreptitiously shared photos or videos of residents, some of whom were partially or completely naked.”
However, this is the first time anyone has made this kind of abuse allegation here, said Rebecca Dutter, who heads the county’s Adult Protective Services program.
“I’ve been with Adult Protective Services for 17 years and been supervisor for 10 and we’ve never had a case like this,” Dutter said. “Part of me hopes this is the first one ever, and part of me fears there’s a lot of this going on and people just don’t report. We’re just devastated over here. It’s such a horrific thing for someone to do.”
People concerned about elder abuse can anonymously report it to Kenosha County Adult Protective Services, said Dutter said.
This case was reported directly to the nursing home, and the person who made the call asked the court to prohibit the defendant from contacting her, as she was identified in the criminal complaint. That, Dutter said, would not have happened if the report had been made to her program.
“We can never release the person’s name,” she said. “I want people to feel able to call us.”
She said the person who reported this case “did the absolute right thing,” and said she and her staff would never know about many abuse cases “if it weren’t for people like her that come forward.”
She encouraged anyone who suspects mistreatment to contact her department at 605-6646 or to call police directly.