FARMINGTON — A Cedar Ridge Inn Nursing Home employee is accused of fracturing the arm of an 82-year-old resident and injuring another.

Nurse Jason Lee, 31, is charged with fourth-degree felony abuse of a resident resulting in physical harm or great psychological harm and abuse of a resident, a petty misdemeanor, following allegations that he grabbed a resident's arm in an attempt to escort her to her room and squeezed another 78-year-old woman's arms against the armrests of her wheelchair.

"We do not tolerate nor have we ever tolerated any abuse whether physical, mental or financial," said Joyce Humiston, owner of the facility. "We were appalled, I was appalled when I found out about this. I'm beyond words."

Police arrested Lee on Wednesday after investigating the allegations brought to their attention by a resident's wife.

The facility placed Lee on unpaid suspension for three days to investigate, Lisa Higgins, facility administrator said. Administrators fired Lee Wednesday, Higgins said.

The 82-year-old suffered a fracture on her right forearm, several bruises on her right wrist and a swollen thumb, according to police records.

Police records indicate that Lee allegedly became upset with the female patient on Sunday after she struck him in the face when he was escorting her to her room.

He then allegedly "picked her up under her armpits and carried her to her room in an angry manner," police records state.


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Witnesses said that Lee later squeezed another elderly woman's arms against her wheelchair armrests and grabbed her cheeks, pulling her face up so she had to look Lee in the eyes, according to court records.

Jessie Summers, the wife of a resident at the nursing home, alerted Farmington police Monday to the possible abuse after learning about the incidents, according to police records.

Summers told police she witnessed Lee squeezing the 78-year-old's arms against the wheelchair and grabbing her cheeks. The 78-year-old told police Lee "was slapping me" and "no one else was around," according to court records.

A facility housekeeper told police she heard Lee yelling at both women on separate occasions. Both women responded to Lee by saying, "leave me alone, you're hurting me" and "leave me alone, you've already hurt me," according to statements in court records, but the housekeeper did not report the abuse to facility administrators because she was terrified of Lee.

Lee told police in a phone interview that he had been defending himself against a resident who tried to hit him, and that he had gently carried the woman to her room so she could calm down, according to court records. He also told police he lifted the 78-year-old woman's "head up like a mother does to a child when they speak to them," according to court records.

Humiston declined to comment on when Lee was hired, but was adamant he had a clear record.

The facility conducts full background checks on the employees, which includes a background check for sexual offenses and fingerprinting.

"There's nothing on his Board of Nursing license," Humiston said. "He's in good standing. That's what we have to go by."

Humiston was adamant that the facility has maintained a good record, and that no allegations of abuse had been reported in the past. The facility, which opened in May 2002, currently is home to 88 residents, Higgins said.

Both of the elderly women who complained about Lee live on Unit D — the nursing home's only locked unit — where Lee worked as a nurse.

The unit houses residents who suffer from dementia and Alzheimer's disease, and those who might run away from the facility.

Lee recently switched from working nights to working during the day, according to court records.

When asked if other employees had expressed concern about Lee's behavior, Higgins replied, "I have not heard that in quite some time."

A preliminary hearing for Lee is expected within 10 days. He remains out of jail on a $15,000 bond.

Elizabeth Piazza:

epiazza@daily-times.com