A Brookside Glen employee accused of assaulting two Alzheimer's residents at the assisted living facility denied the accusation Tuesday morning in Columbus Recorder’s Court.
George Sutton III, who officials said was a resident care assistant at the time of the two incidents, pleaded not guilty to two counts of exploitation and imitation of disabled adults. He was ordered held in the Muscogee County Jail under bonds totaling $30,000.
Sutton also was ordered to stay away from the victims for at least a year, and his case was bound over to Superior Court.
Officer Aaron Wood said he was called to the Brookside Glen at 400 Bradley Park Drive after it was reported two residents between the ages of 70 and 90 were assaulted. He spoke to an office manager who said employees saw Sutton abuse the men during two separate incidents.
Authorities said the first incident happened when 24-year-old Sutton allegedly pushed an elderly man repeatedly in the hallway around 2 p.m. Oct. 28.
“(The witness) said he was telling Mr. Sutton to stop pushing him, and it appeared that (the victim) was having a hard time walking,” Wood testified. “(The witness) said she walked over to help (the victim), because she believed he was upset by Sutton’s repeated pushing.”
Another employee told officials she witnessed the second incident happen at 2 p.m. the next day in the second victim’s room. She said Sutton became angry with the man, because he soiled his diapers, authorities stated.
She said Sutton “pushed the victim over forcefully” to move him off the bedsheets, which upset the elderly man. He struck Sutton in the stomach and the defendant attacked him, according to her statement to police.
“At which time, Mr. Sutton slapped him once on each side of his face and grabbed him by the cheeks,” Wood testified. “She stated he then threw a pillow down onto his face. (The witness) said she had to remove the pillow, because (the victim) was physically unable to remove it himself.”
Police said warrants were issued for Sutton, who surrendered to authorities at 11:46 p.m. Monday.
In court, Sutton denied the accusations. He said he was only guiding the first elderly man back to his wife after he wandered away from her.
“I was not pushing (the victim),” Sutton testified. “It may have seemed that way just because of my size. I was simply guiding him back to his wife, who he had walked away from.”
Sutton went on to say that he wasn’t mad at the other victim for soiling his diapers. He also denied assaulting the elderly man, stating that he was only trying to keep the victim from attacking him and other coworkers.
“I did not slap him or grab his face,” Sutton said. “I did hold his hands, so he could stop slapping and grabbing at my co-workers and I.”
His co-workers told the court they had only seen the victim get physical with Sutton, and that happened during the Oct. 29 incident.
Sutton told Judge Michael Cielinski it was his “first time ever getting into any trouble,” and requested probation.
Cielinski declined, adding that he “takes elder abuse very seriously.”
Brookside Glen declined to comment when asked about the accusations and Sutton’s current employment status with the facility.