By Beth David, Editor
An employee of The Royal of Fairhaven Nursing Center, a long term care facility that also has beds for short term rehabilitation, has been accused by police of taking photos of two residents and posting them to Snapchat: a man who was nude from the waist down, and a woman who had soiled herself.
Snapchat is a social media platform favored because posts are deleted after they are reviewed by the intended recipients. However, recipients are able to view posts more than once, before posts are deleted. The platform also saves posts on its server for up to 30 days, depending on how they were posted.
According to court records, Deeshawn Venegas, 27, of 4 Penniman Street, New Bedford, was an employee at the Royal and allegedly took a video of a male rehab patient who was walking in the hall with no pants or underwear on. A racial slur, “N___a” was superimposed on the video.
According to court records, Ms. Venegas also allegedly posted a video of woman who had soiled herself, and whose hand was covered in feces from trying to clean herself. The word “Heated” was superimposed on that video. The audio of that video said, “Ah geez, I’m really not about to f_____g do this right now bro! What the hooo!”
The resident had an “elder emoji face” superimposed over her face, according to court records.
A recipient of the Snapchat posts informed the Royal of the videos and said they had been posted on 10/22/18. The woman told officials she was Ms. Venegas’s cousin.
According to court records, the facility and the police obtained a copy of both videos.
According to court records, Ms. Venegas was fired, along with Zuleika Lobo, another employee who knew about at least one of the videos and did not report it.
Ms. Venegas did not appear in court on 12/4/18 as ordered. A default warrant was issued on 12/5, she was arrested on 12/18, and appeared in court on 12/19/18. It is unclear if she was in custody overnight.
Ms. Venegas was charged under Mass. General Laws Chapter 272, Section 105. The charge is for photographing a person who is nude or partially nude when that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, and for disseminating the image. She faces up to 1 1/2 years in the house of correction and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
She was released on $1,000 bail, with $500 paid in cash, and ordered not to have any contact with the elderly in an nursing home setting. She is due in court on 1/17 for a pre-trial hearing.
Court records indicate that the facility immediately notified police and took action against the two employees.
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