ANOKA, Minn. - An aide at an assisted living facility has pleaded guilty to abusing a dementia patient in her care. The abuse was caught on tape and sparked outrage when KARE 11 first reported it.
However Chanta Hampton will only be convicted of a gross misdemeanor.
The victim is Suzanne Edwards, a 70 year old with dementia.
Her son, Kent Edwards is outraged. “This is almost a slap on the wrist,” he said as he left court Wednesday.
“She needs to go to jail for a long time and suffer like my mother did, mentally and emotionally.”
Hampton and another aide, Sarah Mills were each charged with felony Stalking as well as Abuse of a Vulnerable Adult by a Caretaker, a gross misdemeanor.
A criminal complaint says Hampton and Mills “pulled out a lighter and put the flame near Suzanne’s face,” threatened her repeatedly and “flung her nightgown up…exposing her bare buttocks.”
In the videos the women can be heard screaming “You suck. You smell like yesterday!” and chanting “I’m going to live longer than you. I can wipe my own ass.”
Prosecutors agreed to drop the felony Stalking charge in exchange for Hampton’s guilty plea.
Amy Reed-Hall, the prosecutor in the case, called Hampton’s conduct “egregious and alarming.”
But she said Minnesota’s elder abuse laws only have a felony charge if the victim suffers severe bodily harm.
Edwards did not.
The Minnesota Department of Health has found both responsible for abusing Edwards.
Hampton did not respond to KARE 11’s requests for comment as she left court.
She faces up to a year in jail when sentenced later this month.
Mills case is still active though it is likely she will be offered a similar plea deal.
Kent Edwards wishes it were more.
He says he wants to send a message.
“Because of your laws State of Minnesota, she’s not getting a felony. She’s getting a slap on the wrist for torturing my mother for 4 hours. So change it,” Edwards said.