SOUTHINGTON — The case of a local man charged with patient abuse at Connecticut Valley Hospital will go to trial next month.
Mark Cusson, 49, of 353 Harness Drive, was charged by warrant on Sept. 5, 2017 with eight counts each of cruelty to persons and disorderly conduct. Cusson is a forensic nurse who has been a DMHAS employee since 1996. He was released on $75,000 bond after his arrest.
Cusson previously pleaded not guilty to the charges. He was scheduled to appear in New Britain Superior Court on Thursday and the case was continued to Jan. 18 for jury trial, according to the state judicial website,
Others charged to date include Carl Benjamin, 38, of Hamden; Gregory Giantonio, 43, of Deep River; Clayton Davis, 48, of Hartford; Bruce Holt, 39, of Columbia; Robert Larned, 45, of Hebron; Willie Bethea, 45, of Middletown; Seth Quider, 34, of Enfield; and Lance Camby, 48, of New Britain.
The investigation began when Reneta Kozak, director of nursing at Whiting Forensic Unit, contacted a sergeant with the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services police department on March 2, 2017 to report alleged employee abuse of a patient.
State police were assigned to investigate and noted the patient, who is not identified in the warrant, has been committed since 1995. The patient’s room is also under video surveillance.
A total of 31 DMHAS employees have been placed on paid leave for policy and procedure violations or potential criminal acts, the warrant said. State police noted that “at no time did the (officer) observe behavior on behalf of the patient that would give cause to believe that (the patient) was the primary aggressor in those incidents,” the warrant said.
On various dates, Cusson was seen on video sitting in the patient’s room with other staff members. In one instance, Cusson was in a chair near the patient’s bed and kicked the patient for minutes at a time, according to his arrest warrant. In another instance, Cusson placed his legs over the patient to restrain the patient to the bed. On at least two occasions Cusson placed his legs around the patient’s head in a scissor type hold before releasing the patient and moving away.
On March 7, 2017 Cusson entered the patient’s room holding a cup of an unidentified liquid, which he then poured over the patient’s head while the patient was in bed, the warrant said. He later took a mop and placed it on the patient’s head.
On March 11, 2017 Cusson placed his buttocks by the patients head twice and climbed on top of the patient, at which point he placed his groin in the patient’s face and moved back and forth several times, the warrant said.
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