Four former Johnson City nursing home employees enter guilty pleas to abusing elderly patients

Becky Campbell • Jul 17, 2013 at 10:16 PM

Three former CNAs accused of spraying Appalachian Christian Village nursing home patients with water just for kicks, and another who failed to report the incidents, pleaded guilty to their charges Tuesday in a Washington County courtroom and face sentencing in September.

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

They each face one to two years in prison.

Amanda Adolphi, 33, Gray, pleaded guilty to failure to report the abuse. She faces 11 months and 29 days in jail because her charge is a misdemeanor.

The four entered their pleas without an agreement with the state, so their sentences will be up to Senior Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood. He scheduled a Sept. 9 sentencing hearing for the women.

They have no criminal history, which makes them eligible for judicial diversion and to have their convictions erased from their record.

A fifth woman, Bonita Scott, 51, Chuckey, was also charged in the incident, but she pleaded guilty to her case in Washington County Sessions Court shortly after being charged.

All the women were certified nursing assistants at Appalachian Christian Village nursing home when the incidents occurred in December 2011 and January 2012.

The women were charged after officials at the nursing home discovered patients were sprayed with water by Blevins, and both Kettermans. Adolphi and Scott knew about the abuse but allegedly didn’t report it. Scott pleaded guilty to failure to report while the cases were still in Washington County Sessions Court.

The allegations also included the CNAs taking photos of patients’ bare buttocks and breasts, according to reports from the investigation. According to information released after the women’s arrests, 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 also apparently took photos and videos of the incidents and showed those to other people.

The abuse cost the nursing home a period of suspension of new admissions and a one-time civil penalty of $3,000 assessed by the Tennessee Department of Health, which regulates nursing homes and assisted living centers.

That suspension was lifted Feb. 22, 2012, 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.

All four women are free on bond while their cases are pending.

Related article:

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

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