Lodi News-Sentinel

Operators of upscale Los Angeles care facility charged with elder abuse in 14 COVID deaths

- Nathan Solis

LOS ANGELES — The operators of an upscale Los Angeles care facility for dementia patients were charged Tuesday with felony elder abuse and other criminal counts related to the deaths of an employee and thirteen residents during the early days of the pandemic.

Silverado Beverly Place, near the Fairfax district, specialize­s in caring for elderly residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and was the site of a COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020.

The employee and residents died during the outbreak, in which 45 employees and 60 residents were infected, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. The facility’s operators were sued in civil court by the families of multiple residents and the employee who died. The facility was the subject of a 2020 Los Angeles Times investigat­ion.

The facility was meant to be closed to visitors, prosecutor­s said, when it admitted a patient from a New York psychiatri­c unit. Silverado Beverly Place’s own protocols required it to not admit anyone from a high-risk area like New York City, which was considered an epicenter of COVID-19 at the time.

Prosecutor­s say the patient was not tested for the coronaviru­s when they were admitted and showed symptoms the next morning. But after they tested positive, they were not quarantine­d, according to the criminal charges.

Management at the facility did not block visitors who traveled domestical­ly or internatio­nally within 14 days to areas where COVID-19 cases were confirmed, prosecutor­s allege.

“These careless decisions created conditions that needlessly exposed Silverado staff and its residents to serious injury and — tragically — death,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement when his office announced the charges.

Three managers were charged with 13 felony counts of elder endangerme­nt and five felony counts of violation causing death. The charges were filed over the facility’s management of its employee’s health and safety. Loren Bernard Shook, Jason Michael Russo and Kimberly Cheryl Butrum were charged along with the Irvine company Silverado Senior Management Inc.

Prosecutor­s claim that the patient from New York was admitted to Silverado Beverly Place because of financial considerat­ions.

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