Jury Acquits Oakwood Worker Of Abuse Charges; Judge Grants State
Reprieve From Closure
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 13, 2006
SOMERSET, KENTUCKY--Dee Anna Sumpter, 37, has been cleared of all four charges that she kicked, slapped or punched residents while working at Communities at Oakwood, Kentucky's largest state-run institution for people with developmental disabilities.
Three witnesses testified last week that they saw Sumpter assault the residents during the summer of 2005.
Sumpter said they all were lying.
When asked later why they would lie, Sumpter's attorney suggested the witnesses were promised immunity from prosecution, and that they did not like her because of her sexual orientation.
Assistant Attorney General Mary Cartwright said that the witnesses had no reason to request immunity because they were not under investigation, and that there was no evidence anyone was prejudiced against Sumpter because she is gay.
Sumpter is one of 15 former Oakwood workers that have been arrested during the past two years on charges related to abusing residents.
Also, in the past 23 months, the facility has received 24 of the most serious citations for abuse and neglect of its residents.
On October 24, an administrative judge gave the state a reprieve from a potential loss of federal funding over conditions at the facility.
The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had threatened to withhold $43 million to operate Oakwood. But state officials convinced the judge and CMS that a change in management would mean a turn-around in how residents are treated.
A regional mental health nonprofit agreed to take over day-to-day operations at Oakwood beginning November 1.
State officials said the reprieve gives them time to assess the new management.
"Judge gives Oakwood time extension to 'fix problems'" (WTVQ)
"Oakwood ex-staffer not guilty" (Lexington Herald-Leader)
"Communities at Oakwood" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)