Four workers at a Livonia psychiatric facility were charged Wednesday in connection with the physical abuse of three male patients at the facility, while a doctor and a nurse were charged with failing to report the abuse.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy charged Kyle Jackson, 31, of Oak Park; Wynton Dixon, 57, of Detroit; Thomas May, 59, of Westland; and Demetris Hunt, 28, of Wayne. They all were employees at Livonia COPE (Community Outreach for Physiatric Emergencies).
The patients, a 26-year-old from Redford, a 48-year-old from Romulus and a 51-year-old from Dearborn, were receiving treatment for mental health issues at the facility, in the 33500 block of Schoolcraft, at the time of the alleged assaults in March.
Jackson and Dixon allegedly choked the patient from Romulus.
May is charged with third-degree vulnerable adult abuse and assault and battery involving the patient from Dearborn Heights between March 9 and March 11.
Jackson and Dixon are charged with two counts of third-degree abuse of a vulnerable adult and two counts of assault and battery in connection with alleged abuse of the patient from Redford between March 16 and March 17.
Jackson and Dixon also are charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm by strangulation and two counts of third-degree abuse of a vulnerable adult in connection with alleged abuse of the Romulus man on .
Hunt is charged with third-degree abuse of a vulnerable adult and assault and battery involving alleged abuse of the Romulus man March 16.
Dixon is charged with failure to report abuse of a mental health recipient involving alleged incidents from March 9 to March 11 involving the Dearborn Heights patient.
Hunt also is charged with assault and battery and failure to report abuse of a mental health recipient involving the patients from Romulus and Redford between March 15 and March 18.
Staff psychiatrist Dr. Hanumaiah Bandla, 65, of West Bloomfield, and a nurse Erma Owens, 80, of Inkster, are charged with failure to report abuse of a mental health recipient.
Jackson was arraigned Wednesday and received a $5,000 bond/10 percent cash surety. The other defendants are set to be arraigned at 9 a.m. Thursday in 16th District Court in Livonia.
“The alleged abuse inflicted by these defendants is shocking," Worthy said in a statement. "The victims sought psychiatric help and were met with the opposite of help. We have to be much better than this. People that seek assistance deserve compassion, respect, and treatment that is beyond reproach.”
COPE is operated by Hegira Programs Inc. Ed Forry, the president and CEO of Hegira, said Wednesday in a statement his organization has a "zero-tolerance" policy toward abuse.
"Recently, unfortunate incidents occurred at one of our facilities, which led to an investigation that revealed an extreme violation of our standards of care. The individuals in question were terminated as soon as we learned of the incidents in question, and we are fully cooperating with police as their investigation progresses.
“We have a zero-tolerance policy for any form of abuse, and the behavior of these former employees does not represent Hegira, our facility or the rest of our dedicated staff.
“Though all our employees undergo regular training and assessment, in light of this incident, we have fully audited our processes and have conducted additional re-training sessions. In our nearly half century of serving Michigan, this is the first time an incident of this nature has happened, and we are determined to ensure that it never happens again.”