December 9, 2010 – Pittsfield, MA – A former nursing home employee has received a suspended jail sentence and probation after assaulting an elderly nursing home resident, The Berkshire Eagle has reported. Sandra E. Yankey, 46, pled guilty to verbally and physically assaulting Marie Jean Oppermann, 81, at Springside Nursing Home on August 12. According to witnesses, Yankey began shouting expletives at the woman. Yankey then punched Oppermann at least 2 times, grabbed some of the woman’s hair and jerked her head back and forth while the woman was in her wheelchair. A supervisor witnessed the attack and attempted to position herself between Yankey and the patient. Yankey refused to back away and police stated that Yankey had to be removed from the facility by force.
According to a post-incident assessment by the Springside staff, Oppermann was “distraught” and “expressed bewilderment” concerning the violent incident. Oppermann had “tears in her eyes,” a tuft of her hair was found on her lap and she complained of pain in her left arm. She died about one month after the attack but her death was unrelated to injuries sustained in the incident. The 2-year prison sentence recommended by prosecutors was rejected by Judge Fredric D. Rutberg. Instead, Yankey received a 2-year suspended jail sentence and probation. This means that although Yankey will not go to jail she will definitely face imprisonment if she gets into trouble or violates any court-ordered conditions of her release. Any hopes of Oppermann’s family to see Yankey, a convicted criminal, behind bars have so far been dashed.
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