Caretaker accused of elder abuse faces alleged victims in court
MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCIV) —
Details about an alleged abuse inside a residential boarding home came out in a Berkeley County courtroom on Wednesday.
Residents say they were treated poorly—but the accused caretaker refuted the claims.
This was the second bond hearing for caretaker Albertha Lucinda Brown.
She's charged with abuse of a vulnerable adult.
Moncks Corner Police say Brown pinched and choked a resident bound to a wheelchair.
"The charge that you have been assigned is abuse of a vulnerable adult," stated a bond court judge inside a courtroom at Hill-Finklea Detention Center.
Brown stood before the court while wearing handcuffs and shackles.
She also listened to two people who were in her care.
"I would prefer to have the highest surety bond there is," said one alleged victim.
"My first day in there she beat me where I had bruises. She tried to choke me," said another alleged victim.
Both ladies explained to the judge what allegedly happened at the hands of Brown behind the doors of Rainbow Residential Boarding Home in Moncks Corner.
"She beat me in the head first. Then she dragged me across the room by my hair," said one of the women.
But Brown refuted the allegations.
"I've never abused them in any way," Brown said.
She said one of the residents had mental problems and needed to be restrained.
Still, she didn't admit to hurting anyone.
"That's not who I am. That's not who I am. That's not how I was raised," Brown said.
The judge granted her a $50,000 surety bond.
Brown already had a hearing for the first assault charge.That bond was set at $40,000.
Documents from the Berkeley County Coroner's Office show a resident of a boarding home on Cooper Store Road died in March after walking away from the facility.
A death investigation report reveals a 72-year-old man died of hypothermia after he was locked out of the building. He died on the steps of a nearby church.
The allegations got the attention of a local state representative.
"We treat our prisoners better than we treat most of these senior citizens in these facilities," said State Rep. Wendell Gilliard, Democrat from Charleston.
He says he already pre-filed a bill designed to prevent elder abuse.
He's now calling for tougher regulations on facilities that care for senior citizens.
"More staffing. More education, more training. Job training. And more pay. We have to pay these people for the quality of service once we train them. Once we educate them more," he stated.
Gilliard believes bi-partisan support will eventually push his proposal into law. He's committed to protecting elderly citizens who are unable to protect themselves. He wants to stop cases like this from happening.
"We have to do what's right by our seniors. Once again they have paid their dues. We owe them that right for quality care," he said.
Gilliard filed a similar measure last year, but it was rejected in a subcommittee.
Still, he's hopeful another effort will be successful in stopping these types of problems.
If Albertha Brown is convicted, she faces a fine and up to five years in jail.