For Immediate Release - July 12, 2011

Former Certified Nursing Assistant Arraigned for Allegedly Abusing 93 Year-Old Nursing Home Resident

DUDLEY - A former Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at the Lanessa Extended Care facility in Webster has been arraigned for allegedly assaulting an elderly resident at the facility, Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office announced today.

Josephine Onyekwere, age 39, of Dudley, was arraigned today in Dudley District Court on the charge of Assault and Battery on an Elderly Person.

In November 2010, the AG's Office began an investigation into the alleged abuse after the matter was initially investigated and referred by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). Investigators discovered that in August 2010, Onyekwere physically struck the elderly victim while the victim was seated. The alleged assault was witnessed by multiple employees of the facility. The facility terminated Onyekwere's employment after it conducted an internal investigation into the matter. After DPH investigated the matter, the case was referred to the Attorney General's Office for prosecution.

Today, Onyekwere was arraigned in Dudley District Court where she entered a plea of not guilty before Judge Michael Allard-Madaus. Onyekwere was released on personal recognizance, and ordered to stay away from the facility. She is due back in court on August 18, 2011 for a pre-trial conference.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Joshua Orr and was investigated by Senior Investigator Michael Russo, both of the AG's Medicaid Fraud Division.