Two former Beatrice State Developmental Center employees have been given prison sentences for abusing residents at BSDC.
Cameron Barnes of Fairbury has been sentenced to consecutive two-to-four year prison terms on two counts of abusing a vulnerable adult. Mathew Johnson of Beatrice faces one-to-four years in prison on a similar charge.
Gage County District Judge Paul Korslund, during a sentencing hearing in Beatrice, told the two they had violated a trust.
“These victims are among the most vulnerable in our society,” Korslund stated in court. “They were totally dependent on you and others like you who were charged with their care and protection. You held an important position of trust and you violated that trust. Your actions have inflicted great pain and suffering, not only on the victims, but also on their families.”
An investigation last year uncovered abuse of seven BSDC residents, including beating and strangulation. In total, five BSDC workers were charged with abuse.
A jury convicted Mathew Pangborn in July on nine of 10 charges filed against him, including strangulation and abuse. He is scheduled to be sentenced October 3rd.
Korslund said he hopes the abuse investigation helps BSDC regain credibility.
“Hopefully, BSDC will fully regain its good name and as a result of these cases there will be no doubt that abuse of the most vulnerable by those responsible for their care will not be tolerated by BSDC and by the criminal justice system,” Korslund stated.
Attorneys for the two workers had asked for probation, arguing that their lack of prior convictions should shield them from harsher sentences.
By Doug Kennedy, KWBE