Son 'sickened' by no charges in nursing-home abuse case

A man has expressed shock after learning that staff at a Peterborough, Ont., long-term-care facility will not face charges despite video showing them manhandling his mother and shoving a soiled cloth into her face.

Camille Parent's hidden camera footage shows Ontario nursing-home staff manhandling mom, 85

A man has expressed shock after learning that staff at a long-term-care facility in Peterborough, Ont., will not face charges despite video showing them manhandling his mother and shoving a soiled cloth into her face.   

"I'm puzzled," Camille Parent told CBC News. "I'm sickened over this. It's just totally wrong."

Police have told Parent that no charges will be laid against staff at St. Joseph's at Fleming nursing home, where 85-year-old Hellen MacDonald is a resident.

An investigation began earlier this year after Parent noticed scratches and bruises on his mother, who has dementia. He complained to management, but continued to see injuries and placed a hidden camera in her room.

Over four days, the camera captured disturbing images of his mother being mistreated by staff, including:

  • Her being manhandled while MacDonald gets her diaper changed.
  • An employee shoving a soiled cloth into her face.
  • A pair of St. Joseph’s employees making out in MacDonald’s room as she lies in bed.
  • An employee blowing his nose on her bed sheets.

The hidden camera also caught another resident wandering into MacDonald’s room and going through her belongings.

'Why are we protecting the abusers?'

Four employees have since been fired, and a subsequent investigation by the Ministry of Health found several violations of the Long Term Care Act at the home.

Parent, however, says he wants to see charges laid.

"Why are we not protecting our folks in long-term care," he told CBC News. "Why are we protecting the abusers?"

Police have failed to give Parent any reasons for their decision, but he has been invited to a meeting on Friday with the Crown attorney.

Parent says if charges can’t be laid under the current laws, he’ll argue for tougher legislation to prevent similar abuse.

He also is not ruling out the possibility of asking another police force to conduct an independent investigation.

With files by CBC's Gary Ennett