Ledger-Enquirer - - Front page - BY BEN WRIGHT [email protected]­

A for­mer Musco­gee Manor nurs­ing as­sis­tant pleads not guilty to a charge of in­jur­ing a 90-year-old pa­tient.

A for­mer Musco­gee Manor em­ployee de­nies caus­ing an in­jury to the arm of a 90-yearold dis­abled woman at the in­ter­me­di­ate care nurs­ing fa­cil­ity in Colum­bus, the em­ployee’s at­tor­ney said Thurs­day.

Naidia Ben­nett, 27, pleaded not guilty to one count of ex­ploita­tion and in­tim­i­da­tion of dis­abled adults or el­der per­sons dur­ing a hear­ing in Recorder’s Court. Through an agree­ment with the District At­tor­ney’s Of­fice, Judge Julius Hunter set bond at $5,000 and bound the charge over to Musco­gee Su­pe­rior Court.

Ben­nett’s at­tor­ney, Mark Shel­nutt, waived the court hear­ing on the charge and ques­tioned the al­le­ga­tion.

Shel­nutt said Ben­nett was work­ing as a cer­ti­fied nurs­ing as­sis­tant at the fa­cil­ity at 7150 Manor Road when a woman she was car­ing for sus­tained a bruise on her arm. There are at least three shifts at the fa­cil­ity where peo­ple are com­ing in and out, in­clud­ing doc­tors and nurses, he said.

“Some­how or an­other, they claim she al­leged my client did some­thing to her hand,” Shel­nutt said. “There was a bruise of some kind is the al­le­ga­tion.”

In a re­port, po­lice said Ben­nett in­flicted phys­i­cal pain and men­tal an­guish on the woman about 4 p.m. July 29 by strik­ing her left hand, caus­ing se­vere bruis­ing. She also is ac­cused of curs­ing the pa­tient, ac­cord­ing to the vic­tim and a wit­ness.

Shel­nutt said the pa­tient wasn’t able to speak with a tra­cheostomy. “It could have been any­body,” Shel­nutt said. “It is just no way to know. They say a bruise ap­pears at a later time. There is all kinds of time frame in how the bruise came about.”

Shel­nutt said he doesn’t be­lieve there is any case. “She is ob­vi­ously dev­as­tated,” he said of Ben­nett. “She never had any­thing but mi­nor traf­fic in her past. I hope she will be fully ex­on­er­ated in court.”

Po­lice said the pa­tient later died of nat­u­ral causes un­re­lated to the in­ci­dent. Records show she died on Sept. 25 at age 90.

Ben­nett, who left the job at Musco­gee Manor, now works in a dif­fer­ent field.

ROBIN TRIMARCHI rtri­[email protected]­

Naidia Ben­nett, 28, faces charges of ex­ploita­tion and in­tim­i­da­tion of el­der per­sons re­gard­ing a July 29 in­ci­dent at Musco­gee Manor when a 90-year old woman was found with a bruise on her hand. Ben­nett is rep­re­sented by de­fense at­tor­ney Mark Shel­nutt, left.

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