HOLYOKE, MASS. (WHDH) - The criminal charges against two former top officials at a Massachusetts veterans’ home where nearly 80 residents died in one of the country’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreaks in a long-term care facility have been dismissed.
Former Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Superintendent Bennett Walsh and former Medical Director Dr. David Clinton were each indicted last year on five counts of elder neglect and five counts of permitting serious bodily injury to an elder after making the decision to merge two dementia units during the outbreak in March of 2020.
The decision placed residents who were positive for the coronavirus into a space with those without symptoms.
A Hampden Superior Court Judge dismissed those charges in a 22 page court filing late Monday afternoon on the grounds that the Commonwealth did not meet its burden of proof for charging Walsh and Clinton.
“There was insufficient reasonably trustworthy evidence presented to the grand jury that had these two dementia units not been merged, the medical condition of any of these five veterans would have been materially different,” Hampden Superior Court Edward McDonough Jr. wrote in his decision.
“We are very disappointed in today’s ruling, especially on behalf of the innocent victims and families harmed by the defendants’ actions. We are evaluating our legal options moving forward,” a spokesperson for Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement.
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