Aide fired for slapping resident with dementia

An Emerald Crest Memory Care Center aide has been fired for slapping a resident with dementia who wandered into the dining room at night.  

Zephaniah Nyang’au Ontere, who works at Emerald Crest by AugustanaCare, approached the 85-year-old resident, who typically gets up during the night, and turned off the lights, according to the complaint. The woman banged on a table demanding the lights be turned back on.

Police say surveillance video shows Ontere hitting the woman in the face with an open hand. Ontere admitted to slapping the woman in an interview with police, who said he was apologetic and “begged for forgiveness.”

Ontere has been charged with fourth-degree assault and disorderly conduct. If convicted, he could spend one year in prison and $3,000 in fines for the assault charge and up to 90 days in jail and $1,000 in fines for the disorderly conduct charge.

The Minnetonka, Minnesota, facility issued a statement to local ABC affiliate KTSP in response to the charges:

“Due to privacy concerns we are not able to publicly discuss the details of this incident; however, we take the safety of our residents very seriously and have a no-tolerance policy for abuse. The behavior of the aide in question was egregious and intolerable, and Augustana Care responded swiftly by contacting the family, adult protection and the authorities. The employee was immediately terminated.

Background checks are performed for all employees, and Augustana/Emerald Crest trains employees on vulnerable adult issues upon hiring and annually thereafter. Prospective employees are not allowed to begin work here until they successfully complete a background check.”


Topics: Facility management , Staffing