Former McKeesport nurse charged with taking explicit photos of elderly patients
A former nurse at McKeesport’s Kane Hospital allegedly took photos of elderly patients — and one toddler patient — often when they were naked and in need of medical care, according to Allegheny County police.
Ashley Ann Smith, 30, faces nearly three dozen charges, including invasion of privacy, neglect of a care-dependent person and child pornography.
County police began investigating Smith, of Dravosburg, in early April after a former co-worker at the hospital took the photos — which Smith allegedly sent to him over a 15-month span — to hospital administrators, according to the criminal complaint filed Friday.
A call to Kane Hospital for comment was not immediately returned.
An initial search of Smith’s cell phone on April 11 turned up two photos of a naked elderly woman with an emoji superimposed over her face, according to the complaint.
A deeper search of phone data from both Smith and the co-worker, Ron Whittaker, turned up 19 photos of elderly hospital patients and two photos of a naked 2-year-old girl, police wrote.
“Some of the images,” police said, “showed people in need of immediate care and private situations.”
The photo of the toddler, which was sent to Whittaker, included the caption, “My view now,” according to the complaint.
Police also allegedly found a video of a patient undergoing a medical procedure.
Investigators called the images explicit and private, “and some have the sole purpose to humiliate the patients,” according to the complaint.
Smith faces a total of 30 charges, 11 of which are felonies.
Civil court records show Smith and Whittaker lived together until early November. Both filed for protection from abuse orders against the other on Nov. 7.
Whittaker wrote that Smith elbowed him in the jaw, took his phone and “got in (his) face,” so he slapped her, according to the PFA petition.
Whittaker was arrested for simple assault in the incident. He said Smith “has threatened multiple times to kill me and my other daughter.”
The criminal domestic case against Whittaker is pending.
He has not been charged in the connection with the photos taken at Kane.
Smith wrote in her PFA petition that Whittaker’s PFA was retaliation for her leaving him. .
Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, [email protected] or via Twitter .