Saturday, July 27, 2002

Patient abuse case back to trial Monday

By Janice Morse,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — After a mistrial in April, a case of alleged abuse of a mentally retarded man is heading to court again Monday.

        Timothy Lee Ivers, 40, of Hamilton says he's not guilty of felony patient abuse and misdemeanor assault, charges that carry a maximum of two years behind bars and $6,000 in fines if he's convicted.

        The case is set to begin in the courtroom of Judge H.J. Bressler.

        The judge had granted a mistrial after a dispute arose over whether a document should have been included in the trial. The judge later said he acted in “an abundance of caution” when granting that mistrial — and he found no improprieties in a subsequent hearing.

        Such cases are rarely prosecuted, an Enquirer investigation found earlier this year, for various reasons including the fact that victimized mentally retarded people may be unable to clearly recount what happened to them for judges or juries. In this case, however, a videotape shows at least some of what happened here.

        The charges against Mr. Ivers stem from an incident that was partially recorded on Jan. 26, 2001.

        After hearing complaints about patients possibly being abused at the Hamilton Center sheltered workshop, the Butler County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities set up video and audio surveillance of certain areas.

        A video camera recorded images of Mr. Ivers dragging Glenn Kidd, then 36, backward by his belt into a restroom. An audio recorder then captured Mr. Ivers' voice scolding Mr. Kidd.

        But Mr. Ivers' lawyer, Frank Schiavone, has questioned what may have preceded the incident, and has suggested that his client was simply trying to provide the constant supervision that Mr. Kidd's conditions dictate. Mr. Kidd functions at the level of a 1-to-2-year-old child in most skill areas and has a history of running away, evaluations have shown.


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