A former worker at the Beatrice State Developmental Center has been convicted of abusing residents there.
A Gage County District Court jury deliberated for five hours over two days before finding Matt Pangborn guilty on nine of 10 counts filed against him. The jury found Pangborn guilty on four counts of abuse of a vulnerable adult, one count of attempted abuse, three counts of strangulation and one count of attempted strangulation. He was acquitted on one charge of abuse of a vulnerable adult.
Pangborn’s attorney, Brett Arthur, attempted to undermine the state’s case by impugning former state workers who pleaded guilty to patient abuse and then testified against Pangborn during the trial.
Gage County Attorney Roger Harris defended the tactic after the jury returned its verdict.
“That’s the very nature of it. When you victim can’t tell you, sometimes you have to rely upon the statements of the co-defendants, if you will,” Harris told reporters.
Pangborn maintained his innocence afterward and Arthur attempted to paint a very different picture of Pangborn, insisting he helped and didn’t hurt BSDC residents.
“I know that he did a lot of things off the clock for them and to have these verdicts now, which are so contrary to his whole history at BSDC, it really hurts,” Arthur stated.
Gage County District Judge Paul Korslund has scheduled sentencing for October 3rd. Members of the jury declined to comment on the verdicts they reached in the case.
By Doug Kennedy, KWBE