Commonwealth Journal

September 20, 2013

Burnside man arrested in Oakwood neglect incident

by Chris Harris
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset — A second arrest has been made in an investigation into an incident where two mentally challenged individuals at Oakwood were allegedly provoked into an altercation.

The Kentucky Attorney General’s Office announced Thursday the arrest of Cody Burton, 21, of Burnside, Ky.

Burton was charged with two counts of knowing neglect of a vulnerable adult, and one count of failure to report the neglect of a vulnerable adult at Bluegrass Oakwood, the Somerset facility dedicated to the care and treatment of developmentally disabled persons.

 Burton was arrested Wednesday night at his home by Pulaski County Sheriff’s deputies acting on a warrant obtained by investigators assigned to the Office of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control Division and the Department of Criminal Investigations.

On Monday, Coty King, 22, of Pine Knot was arrested and charged with two counts of knowing neglect of a vulnerable adult.

King is accused of enticing a developmentally disabled adult patient at Oakwood to hit another disabled patient. He also allegedly recorded video of the incident on his cell phone.

King pleaded not guilty to those charges Wednesday in in Pulaski District Court.

Burton is accused of participating in the incident and failing to report it, according to the Attorney General’s statement Thursday.

Violations of the knowing neglect of a vulnerable adult charge are Class C felonies punishable by up to five to 10 years in prison. Violations of the failure to report such neglect are Class B misdemeanors punishable by up to 90 days in prison.

Jill Midkiff, spokesperson for the state’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services, said earlier this week that 12 Oakwood staffers and three supervisors were pulled from duty. However, she stressed that CHFS does not suspect that all those individuals were involved, but were pulled from duty as a safety precaution “in case even one is determined to have knowledge of the incident.”

Attorney General Jack Conway announced King’s arrest earlier in the week.

"My office is working hard to help protect our most vulnerable citizens, but all Kentuckians play an important role," said Conway. "I encourage anyone who suspects abuse of a patient in a nursing home, Medicaid facility or personal care home to immediately report it to our office using our tip line at 1-877-ABUSE TIP."