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Workers at Alzheimer's care center in Ga. charged with abuse, neglect

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By The Associated Press
Tuesday, July 2, 2013, 5:21 p.m.

COMMERCE, Ga. — More than 20 former employees of a Georgia center for people with Alzheimer's disease face dozens of criminal charges for what state investigators call cruel treatment of patients.

The charges stem from a three-month investigation of Alzheimer's Care of Commerce, a facility about 65 miles northeast of Atlanta, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said in a written statement.

Agents used a search warrant Tuesday morning to search for evidence at the center.

GBI officials say the investigation uncovered accounts of physical abuse, such as staff members striking patients and throwing water on them.

Warrants were issued for the arrests of 21 former and present employees, authorities said. Charges including cruelty to people 65 or older and involve accusations of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.

“Information obtained through the investigation indicated that patients were restrained with bed sheets and subjected to inhumane and undignified conditions to include ‘double diapering,' which is a practice whereby multiple diapers were placed on the patients at once to keep the staff from changing soiled diapers as often,” the GBI said.

GBI agents say they also learned that patients were being cared for by people with prior felony convictions that include voluntary manslaughter and identity theft.

The facility's owner, Donna Wright, was charged with cruelty to a person 65 years of age or older and abuse, neglect, financial exploitation and failure to report under the Protection of Disabled Adults and Elderly Persons statute, authorities said.

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