Friday 15 December 2017

Care worker who sat on vulnerable woman jailed for 'cruel' actions

Care worker Pat McLoughlin
Care worker Pat McLoughlin

A care worker at Aras Attracta who sat on an autistic woman has been sentenced to four months in prison.

Clinical nurse manager Pat McLoughlin (56) was jailed for four months while four of his colleagues will be assessed for community service.

Mr McLoughlin had described his actions as "playful interaction" and "a bit of fun".

However, Judge Mary Devins at Ballina District Court said there had been a "hint of cruelty" in his actions to a particularly vulnerable woman. She added that some of his evidence had been "self-serving".

In directing a custodial sentence, she said she had taken into account his training, his seniority and the fact that he was an exemplar who set the standard in the facility.

Judge Devins said the fact Mr McLoughlin - of Lalibela, Mayfield, Claremorris, Co Mayo - had sat on Miss A while other staff were present made his actions even more degrading.

She also ordered him to pay €1,000 to Miss A's personal fund.

Judge Devins said his actions "dehumanised" Miss A and ordered the money should be used on something that gives her enjoyment, such as a day out or getting her hair done. She stressed the money should not be used on things that should be provided by the HSE.

Counsel for Mr McLoughlin, Gearoid Geraghty, immediately lodged an appeal on behalf of his client.

Judge Devins also sentenced four other staff members, three of whom had pleaded not guilty to assault charges.


Christina Delaney (35), Seefinn, Lissatava, Hollymount, Mayo also sat on Miss A. She was ordered to pay €600 compensation to her victim's personal fund and will be assessed for 120 hours community service in lieu of a three-month prison sentence.

Nurse Joan Walsh (42), Carrowilkeen, Curry, Co Sligo, was convicted of slapping a non-verbal resident who was seeking her attention and lifting the same resident, Miss B, dropping her into a chair.

She was ordered to pay the Miss B €600 and will be assessed for 120 hours of community service in lieu of a three-month sentence.

Health care assistant Kathleen King (56), Knockshanvally Straide, Foxford in Mayo who pushed a patient into a chair and hit her with paper will be assessed for 120 hours community service in lieu of a three-month sentence and was directed to pay the resident, Miss C €600.

A fifth worker Joan Gill (63), Dublin Road, Swinford, had pleaded guilty to three counts of assaulting two residents.

Judge Devins described her dragging a resident across the floor as "humiliating and degrading".

She ordered assessment for 240 hours of community service in place of a four-month sentence and must pay €1,000 to Miss A and €500 to Miss B.

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