Former Olympia caregiver arrested on suspicion of assaulting 90-year-old

Staff writerOctober 17, 2013 

Cameron Malizio is accused of shoving a soapy washcloth in the dementia patient's mouth for 10 seconds while her arms were being held behind her back by another former employee of the Garden Courte Memory Care Center

JEREMY PAWLOSKI; STAFF WRITER

Olympia police have arrested a 23-year-old former caregiver at Garden Courte Memory Care Community on Lilly Road on suspicion of assaulting a 90-year-old dementia patient there over the summer, court papers state.

Cameron Malizio is accused of shoving a soapy washcloth in the dementia patient's mouth for 10 seconds while her arms were being held behind her back by another former employee of the care center, according to court papers.

The alleged assault occurred in July while Malizio and the other former employee of the care center were bathing the woman in a shower at the nursing facility in the 600 block of Lilly Road.

A third caregiver at the nursing facility witnessed the alleged assault and immediately reported it to her superiors, Garden Courte spokeswoman LaTanya Jules said Thursday. Garden Courte then immediately reported the incident to Olympia police, she said. The caregiver witnessed the alleged crime on July 9 - her first day on the job, court papers state.

Jules said Thursday that Malizio and the other former employee were immediately terminated after the incident came to light. "I'm very upset," Jules said. "It's an unfortunate incident."

Added Jules in a prepared statement to The Olympian: "We at Garden Courte strive to provide the best care for our residents. When we were made aware of allegations of this employee's conduct that did not meet our standards of care, we terminated our employment relationship...We have many wonderful employees that come to work every day and appreciate and love our residents like family members."

The woman who held the dementia patient's arms down, according to court papers, is not being named by The Olympian because she was not placed under arrest and she is not being charged with a crime.

Malizio was arrested at his residence on Littlerock Road Tuesday on suspicion of second-degree assault. He was out of custody Thursday after posting $5,000 bail with the Thurston County Jail.

Olympia police spokeswoman Laura Wohl said it took detectives several months to complete a thorough investigation. The investigation was complicated by the fact that the victim is a dementia patient, Wohl added. The woman's "dementia prevented her from remembering the incident," court papers state.

According to court papers:

The Garden Court Memory Care employee who reported the incident to her superiors was later interviewed by Olympia police. She told police that the 90-year-old is a "small, skinny, malnourished dementia patient...too weak to hurt anyone." She also said the woman is "a very calm resident who doesn't normally get agitated."

The employee told Olympia detectives that on July 9, she witnessed Malizio and the other employee "drop" the 90-year-old into a chair on wheels so they could bathe her in a shower. A bar on the chair was placed over the 90-year-old's lap so she couldn't get out of the chair.

She also said she witnessed Malizio's co-worker swearing at the 90-year-old as they took her into the shower. She said Malizio turned the water on and didn't wait for it to warm up, "dousing" the 90-year-old with cold water.

The employee told detectives the 90-year-old had a look of "fear" on her face, and it appeared she couldn't breathe as the water doused her face. She said Malizio's co-worker then held the 90-year-old's arms behind her back as Malizio soaped up a washcloth and stuck it in the dementia patient's mouth.

Malizio said words to the effect of "you need your mouth washed out," court papers state.

Malizio has no prior criminal history.

Olympia police interviewed Malizio's female co-worker, who according to court papers, held the 90-year-old's arms behind her back while Malizio stuck the washcloth in her mouth. The woman, who now lives in Alaska, claimed the 90-year-old had punched Malizio in the face, and that is why she held the 90-year-old's arms down.

She also told Olympia police "she does not remember" if Malizio stuck a washcloth in the 90-year-old's mouth.

When an Olympia detective interviewed Malizio, he admitted sticking the washcloth in the dementia patient's mouth, and to "using the shower to direct water into her mouth to wash the soap out" afterward.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 jpawloski@theolympian.com

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