A judge sentenced a 19-year-old woman to 60 days in jail Thursday for holding a 90-year-old dementia patient's arms over her head as a co-worker shoved a soapy washcloth in the patient's mouth at an Olympia nursing home last year.
Emily Green, who was 18 at the time of the July 9, 2013 incident, pleaded guilty Thursday to a count of third-degree assault with aggravating circumstances. Thurston County Superior Court Judge Anne Hirsch immediately sentenced Green after her guilty plea.
Green's co-defendant and former boss at the Garden Courte Memory Care Community on Lilly Road, Cameron Malizio, is serving a one-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in January to a count of second-degree assault for shoving the soapy washcloth in the 90-year-old's mouth.
Malizio, and later, Green, were charged with assault after an employee of the nursing home witnessed the incident while the pair was bathing the 90-year-old woman in a shower.
The witness told her employers that she saw Malizio shove the washcloth in the woman's mouth as Green held the 90-year-old's arms over her head. Management at the nursing home then contacted police.
The Garden Courte employee who reported the incident to police has described the 90-year-old victim as "a small, skinny, malnourished dementia patient...too weak to hurt anyone," court papers state.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Megan Winder asked Hirsch to give Green an exceptional sentence of nine months in jail. But Green's attorney, Thomas Keehan of Younglove & Coker, successfully argued for a sentence in the standard range of one to three months.
Keehan argued that "there was no evidence that Green knew what her co-defendant was about to do," when the incident occurred. Keehan also said that Green had a mere two months of training to become a certified nurses aide, and made minimum wage in a job where she was often overworked.
In sentencing Green to 60 days in jail, Hirsch told her that she has to be held accountable and, "my sense is you should have done something differently."
However, Hirsch also said she does not believe Green had the same level of culpability as her co-defendant. Hirsch said Green's young age at the time of the assault, and the fact that she was in a subordinate position to her co-defendant were also taken into account in arriving at the 60-day sentence.
As part of Green's sentence, she will no longer ever be allowed to work in a job as a caregiver, and she will have a felony conviction on her record.
After the incident first came to light with news of criminal charges against Malizio, officials at the Garden Courte Memory Care Community e-mailed a statement to The Olympian. Green was charged with assault several months after Malizio.
"We at Garden Courte strive to provide the best care for our residents," read the statement. "When we were made aware of allegations of this employee's conduct that did not meet our standard of care, we terminated our employee relationship...We have many wonderful employees that come to work every day and appreciate and love our residents like family members."
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445; firstname.lastname@example.org