9 charged, including Southington man, with abusing patient at Middletown psychiatric hospital

9 charged, including Southington man, with abusing patient at Middletown psychiatric hospital

Record-Journal


MIDDLETOWN — Nine staff members at a maximum-security psychiatric hospital, including a Southington man, have been charged in connection with the abuse of a patient at the Whiting Forensic Division of Connecticut Valley Hospital, state police said.

The Middletown facility is the state’s only maximum-security hospital for the criminally insane.

The arrests followed the suspensions of 31 employees earlier this year in connection with the abuse of a 62-year-old male patient. Authorities said abusive incidents were recorded by surveillance cameras.

To date, the nine people charged are: Mark Cusson, of Southington; Carl Benjamin, of Hamden; Gregory Giantonio, of Deep River; Clayton Davis, of Hartford; Bruce Holt, of Columbia; Robert Larned, of Hebron; Willie Bethea, of Middletown; Seth Quider, of Enfield; and Lance Camby, of New Britain.

All are facing various counts of cruelty to persons and disorderly conduct. Cusson, 49, has the most charges of the group — eight counts of cruelty to persons and eight counts of disorderly conduct.

The state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, which runs the hospital, called the nature of the allegations “reprehensible,” according to an agency statement obtained by The Hartford Courant.

The department said it plans to do an internal investigation after the criminal investigation is finished.

The state Department of Public Health, which regulates health care facilities, said in a recent inspection report that officials identified up to 40 staff members at Whiting Forensic Division who were seen on video surveillance being abusive or witnessing abuse and not reporting it.

Eight other workers were seen talking on their cellphones or were not near the abused patient when he was supposed to be under constant surveillance, the report said.

The Courant reported that the abused patient was admitted to the hospital in 1995 after being acquitted by reason of mental disease or defect in the death of his father in Greenwich. The patient was kicked, jabbed, poked and taunted by staff during several weeks earlier this year, authorities said.

State police say more arrests are expected.


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