TBI charges five former Appalachian Christian Village employees in abuse of elderly patients

Becky Campbell • Jul 31, 2012 at 9:28 PM

Three former CNAs accused of spraying Appalachian Christian Village nursing home patients with water just for kicks, and two others who failed to report the incidents, were arrested this week after being indicted by a Washington County grand jury.

The indictments were issued July 9 following a months-long state investigation into the abuse complaints, which also included the CNAs taking photos of patients bare buttocks and breasts, according to reports from the investigation.

Rebecca Blevins, 39; Jessica Ketterman, 22; and Jennifer Ketterman, 20, all of Elizabethton, face two counts of abuse, neglect or exploitation of a dependent adult.

Amanda Adolphi, 33, Gray, and Bonita Scott, 51, Chucky, are each charged with one count of failing to report abuse, neglect or exploitation of a dependent adult.

The warrants were served this week, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and the five were booked into the Washington County Detention Center on $25,000 bond each.

The probe into abuse allegations began around 4 a.m. Jan. 14 after a CNA at the center told a registered nurse that three other CNAs were spraying water on sleeping patients. The nurse checked a patient in question and discovered the person’s gown and face was wet.

When the nurse asked the suspected CNAs why the gown and face were wet, they said they didn’t know.

From there, a full investigation began that eventually resulted in the arrests.

Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner issued a press release Feb. 8 announcing the suspension of new admissions to the nursing home and assessed a one-time civil penalty of $3,000.

Appalachian Christian Village’s attorney, Eric Ebbert, also issued a statement that day revealing that staff became aware of those allegations and immediately investigated.

Once that investigation was complete, the nursing home turned over the information to the Tennessee Department of Health, which regulates nursing homes and assisted living centers.

That suspension was lifted Feb. 22 after the Department of Health determined deficiencies at the nursing home had been corrected. The suspension was based on a federal surveyors’ report that included interviews with ACV employees, reviews of time cards, video surveillance, medical records and other documents.

It showed Blevins and the Kettermans worked the night shift together on the second floor and began the abuse in December because they thought the patients’ reactions “would be comical.”

They were initially suspended without pay in January, but fired just a few days later on Jan. 20 after giving statements about their involvement in the abuse. On Jan. 22, Adolphi and Scott were fired for allegedly providing misleading information during the internal investigation by ACV.

Blevins and the Kettermans are now free on bond while Aldohpi and Scott were still in jail late Tuesday afternoon. The five are scheduled for their first appearance in Washington County Criminal Court Sept. 21 at 9 a.m.

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