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4 Charged With Abuse Of Psychiatric Patients At Livonia Facility

A doctor and nurse are charged with failure to report it

July 11, 2018 - 2:19 pm

LIVONIA (WWJ) - Four members of the staff at a Livonia psychiatric facility have been charged with abusing patients, while a doctor and nurse are charged with failing to report it. 

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy on Wednesday announced the case involving three male victims at Livonia COPE (Community Outreach for Psychiatric Emergencies). located at Schoolcraft and Farmington Roads.

It is alleged, according to Worthy, that in March of this year, four COPE staffers physically assaulted three patients -- a 26-year-old man from Redford, a 48-year old man from Romulus and a 51-year-old man from Dearborn Heights -- who were mental health recipients at that time.

photo: Wayne County Prosecutor's Office
A spokesman for Livonia HOPE said all four of those staffers were fired after then abuse was caught on camera.

Identified as 30-year-old Kyle Jackson of Oak Park, 37-year-old Wynton Dixon of Detroit, 59-year-old Thomas May of Westland and 28-year-old Demetris Hunt of Wayne, each was charged with Vulnerable Adult Abuse - 3rd Degree, Assault and Battery. Jackson and Dixon have also been charged with Assault With Intent to Do Great Bodily Harm by Strangulation in connection with an alleged assault on the Romulus man. 

Additionally, it's alleged that 64-year-old staff psychiatrist Dr. Hanumaiah Bandla, a West Bloomfield resident, and 79-year-old nurse Erma Owens of Inkster knew about, but did not report the abuse of the three men. They're both charged with Failure to Report Abuse of a Mental Health Recipient.

“The alleged abuse inflicted by these defendants is shocking," said Worthy, 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.”

Jackson was arraigned Wednesday and received a $5,000/10 percent bond. All other arraignments are scheduled for Thursday in 16th District Court in Livonia. 

Prosecutors say more complete facts and the evidence in the case will be presented in court. 

Ed Forry, president and CEO of Hegira Programs, Inc., which runs Livonia HOPE, said the company is cooperating with the authorities on this case. 

“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," Forry said, in a statement sent to WWJ Newsrasdio 950.

“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," he added. 
“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.”