Workers at Livonia facility charged with abuse of 3 mental health patients

(WXYZ) - Several workers at a mental health facility in Livonia are facing a slew of charges for allegedly abusing three patients earlier this year.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worth has charged 30-year-old Kyle Jackson, 57-year-old Wynton Dixon, Thomas May and 26-year-old Demetris Hunt with abuse. They allegedly assaulted three male patients, a 26-year-old from Redford, a 48-year-old from Romulus and a 51-year-old from Dearborn Heights, all of whom were mental health patients at Livonia COPE (Community Outreach for Psychiatric Emergencies.)

“The alleged abuse inflicted by these defendants is shocking. The victims sought psychiatric help and were met with the opposite of help. We have to be much better than this. People that seek assistance deserve compassion, respect, and treatment that is beyond reproach," Worthy said in a release

On top of that, two other people, Staff Psychiatrist Dr. Hanumaiah Bandla and nurse Erma Owens allegedly failed to report the abuse.

There were several incidents of adult abuse, according to Worthy. Those incidents are:

  • March 9-11, 2018 - May charged with 3rd degree vulnerable adult abuse and assault and battery for allegedly assaulting on the 51-year-old man
  • March 16-17, 2018 - Jackson charged with two counts of 3rd degree vulnerable adult abuse and two counts assault and battery, Dixon charged with 3rd degree vulnerable adult abuse and assault and battery for allegedly assaulting 26-year-old man
  • March 17, 2018 - Jackson charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm by strangulation and two counts of 3rd degree vulnerable adult abuse, Dixon charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm by strangulation and 3rd degree vulnerable adult abuse for allegedly assaulting 48-year-old man
  • March 16, 2018 - Hunt charged with 3rd degree vulnerable adult abuse and assault and battery for allegedly on 48-year-old man
  • March 17-23, 2018 - Bandla charged with failure to report abuse of mental health recipient for alleged assault on 48-year-old man
  • March 9-11, 2018 - Dixon charged with failure to report abuse of mental health recipient for alleged assault on 51-year-old man
  • March 15-18, 2018 - Hunt charged with assault and battery and failure to report abuse of mental health recipient for alleged assaults on 48-year-old man and 26-year-old man
  • March 16, 2018 - Owens charged with failure to report abuse of a mental health recipient for allegedly abuse on 48-year-old man.

Jackson was arraigned on charges Wednesday and given a $5,000 cash/surety bond. The others are all expected to be arraigned in Livonia court on Thursday morning.

Hegira Programs, Inc. President and CEO Ed Forry recently released this statement regarding the charges filed against former COPE employees:

“Recently, unfortunate incidents occurred at one of our facilities, which led to an investigation that revealed an extreme violation of our standards of care. The individuals in question were terminated as soon as we learned of the incidents in question, and we are fully cooperating with police as their investigation progresses.

“We have a zero-tolerance policy for any form of abuse, and the behavior of these former employees does not represent Hegira, our facility or the rest of our dedicated staff.

“Though all our employees undergo regular training and assessment, in light of this incident, we have fully audited our processes and have conducted additional re-training sessions. In our nearly half century of serving Michigan, this is the first time an incident of this nature has happened, and we are determined to ensure that it never happens again.”

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