'It's despicable': son reacts after told no charges laid in mistreatment of mother
Published Thursday, September 5, 2013 10:25PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 5, 2013 11:49PM EDT
A man who installed a hidden camera in his mother’s room at an Ontario long-term care facility and captured troubling acts by staff members is outraged after authorities told him no charges will be laid.
Camille Parent, who planted the camera in his 85-year-old mother’s room at St. Joseph’s at Fleming long-term care home in Peterborough, Ont., says he can’t believe the outcome of the police investigation.
"It’s despicable," Parent, whose mother Hellen MacDonald suffers from dementia, told CTV News. “If you hurt somebody or abuse somebody, you either go to jail or you get charged.”
Parent had installed the hidden camera in his mother’s room after multiple incidents that he found suspicious. Last year she sustained a black eye for reasons still unknown to him.
In the video footage -- captured over a three-week period earlier this year -- caught staff members committing a number of indecent acts.
In one clip, a staff member is seen waving a rag smeared with MacDonald’s own feces near her face. In another clip, a staff member is seen wiping his nose on her bed sheets.
The shocking video sparked a formal internal investigation by St. Joseph’s and another by Ontario’s Ministry of Health. The four employees of the long-term care home were suspended with pay in May.
They were later fired.
But despite the video, police and the Crown attorney told Parent they will not be taking the case any further, enraging not only Parent, but some advocates who work to prevent elder abuse. They say that had a similar case happened at a daycare center, charges would have been laid.
"I think it was disgusting. I think it was an obscenity what they did to that woman and if it had been a child or a younger middle-aged person, they would have never gotten away with it," said Lynn MacDonald, the scientific director or the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly.
According to the province’s Long-Term Care Homes Act, which came into effect in 2010, there is a zero-tolerance policy for any type of neglect or abuse.
Parent said a spokesperson for the Peterborough police will likely comment on their decision not to lay charges after a meeting on Friday with him and the Crown attorney.
The case once again raises concerns about residents' safety in long-term care facilities. A W5 investigation earlier this year discovered that in just one year, more than 10,000 seniors suffered abuse in nursing homes across Canada.
Raeann Rideout, the regional consultant at the Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, said the numbers point to a growing problem which the justice system needs to better address.
"I think a lot of it’s is educating the police officers, educating crown attorneys, those in the justice system about what constitutes abuse."
With a report from CTV's John Vennavally-Rao