- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for AG's Office Files Notice of Appeal in Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Case
Thomas Dalton, Deputy Press Secretary
SPRINGFIELD — Attorney General Maura Healey today filed a notice of appeal in Hampden County Superior Court, seeking a reversal of the recent dismissal of grand jury indictments against the former superintendent and former medical director of the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke (SHH) in connection with their alleged roles in the deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the facility.
In September 2020, Bennett Walsh, age 51, of Springfield, and Dr. David Clinton, age 72, of South Hadley, were indicted by a Statewide Grand Jury on the charges of Caretaker Who Wantonly or Recklessly Commits or Permits Bodily Injury to an Elder or Disabled Person (5 counts for each defendant) and Caretaker Who Wantonly or Recklessly Commits or Permits Abuse, Neglect, or Mistreatment to an Elder or Disabled Person (5 counts for each defendant). On November 22, 2021, Hampden Superior Court Judge Edward McDonough allowed both defendants’ motions to dismiss.
“The tragic loss of life at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home broke the promise that our Commonwealth would honor these men who bravely served our country,” said AG Healey. “We are filing this notice of appeal today to pursue accountability on behalf of their loved ones and communities.”
Pursuant to the Attorney General’s notice, the case will be transferred to the Appeals Court—where a formal appeal will be entered—once the full record is assembled, including court filings and transcripts associated with the defendants' motions.
The AG’s Office began its investigation in early April 2020 after learning of serious issues with COVID-19 infection control procedures at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke (SHH). The prosecution is principally focused on a March 27, 2020 decision to consolidate two dementia units into one, which resulted in the placement of symptomatic residents, confirmed COVID-19-positive residents and asymptomatic residents within the same unit. Nine residents, some of whom were asymptomatic and some of whom were showing symptoms of COVID-19, were placed in beds in the dining room just a few feet apart from each other. The residents in the consolidated unit were allegedly mingling together, regardless of COVID-19 status. The AG’s Office alleged that this decision, which Walsh and Clinton authorized, was reckless and created a substantial likelihood that the asymptomatic veterans at SHH would contract COVID-19, and put them at higher risk of harm, including death.
This case is being handled by AG Healey’s Medicaid Fraud Division. The Medicaid Fraud Division receives 75 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award. The remaining 25 percent is funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.