A Wisconsin nursing-home employee has been fired and arrested after allegedly Snapchatting a video of one of the home’s elderly residents, a 93-year-old Alzheimer’s patient, “in a bra and no underwear and no pants.” Yikes.
Grace Riedlinger, a 21-year-old nursing assistant who worked at Parkside Manor in Kenosha until earlier this month, now faces charges of taking a nude video without consent. If convicted, she could spend 18 months in jail and two and a half years on supervised release.
According to the Kenosha News, one of Riedlinger’s school friends, who also follows her on Snapchat, reported the photo to the nursing home. The executive director of Parkside Manor told cops that Riedlinger admitted to taking a video of the elderly patient.
As for why she did it, the criminal complaint against her contains the explanation she gave police. It’s not a great one.
The elderly woman “was playing tug of war with her and she thought it was funny so she took a video of the encounter and uploaded the video to Snapchat under her ‘story’ section,” officers wrote. Unlike regular Snapchat messages, Stories don’t disappear immediately when viewed — they stick around for 24 hours.
Police also interviewed the victim, who has Alzheimer’s and dementia. She wasn’t able to tell them what happened.
This incident isn’t as unusual as you would hope. ProPublica has been tracking cases over the past few years, and has “identified 35 instances since 2012 in which workers at nursing homes and assisted-living centers have surreptitiously shared photos or videos of residents, some of whom were partially or completely naked. At least 16 cases involved Snapchat[.]”
Following the release of ProPublica’s report, the U.S. Senate’s Aging Committee is looking into possibilities for a legislative safeguard against what appears to be a horrifying trend. Things move slowly in Congress, though: A hearing is currently planned for September.