Snapchat video of naked nursing home patient leads to charges

Published: Feb. 19, 2016 at 4:29 PM EST
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A certified nursing assistant (CNA) at a Michigan City assisted living facility faces charges after allegedly posting a crude video of an elderly patient in the shower.

Kara DeVaux, 24, an employee at Aperion Care on Coolspring Avenue, is charged with voyeurism, a Level 6 felony, and misdemeanor sale, distribution or exhibition of obscene matter.

Employees at the nursing home saw the video on DeVaux's Snapchat feed and immediately reported it to supervisors at the facility.

According to court documents the video depicted an 85-year-old dementia patient naked in the shower while the staff sprayed her with water. Witnesses to the video told supervisors they heard DeVaux's voice in the recording saying "look at this crazy bitch she doesn't like taking showers."

When confronted, DeVaux reportedly told her supervisor she meant to take a photo of just the woman's face to show two other employees and "accidentally" posted it on her public Snapchat feed.

In a written statement collected by the facility and handed over to police, she wrote: "I, Kara DeVaux, took a picture of [redacted] face and sent it to a coworker while she was in the shower room."

But as the investigation continue, evidence gathered indicated it was more than a photo.

Someone took a screen grab of the video and showed it to supervisors at Aperion Care, Michigan City.

The court record indicates the photo included an elderly white woman sitting naked on a shower chair, fully exposed, with a black and white caption reading "She f***ing hates showers. S***."

Aperion Care provided copies of its employee handbook plus certification signed by DeVaux about patient privacy and code of conduct.

Aperion Care arbors at Michigan City specifically prohibits recording patients in its handbook:

"Each facility resident and employee should be free of any fear that he or she will be photographed or videotaped, or have his or her voice recorded, copied or transmitted improperly. Therefore, employees are prohibited from possessing or using, or assisting another person to possess or use a recording device while on the premises of the facility or while working for the facility."

The company's legal counsel, Frederick Frankel told NewsCenter 16 in an interview that they are disappointed and disgusted by this incident.

"Being able to enforce or monitor is something we can only do to the best of our abilities," Frankel explained, "if somebody is determined to take an action that is inappropriate we try our best to stop this. Unfortunately, this occurred."

Frankel emphasized the training and education each employee dealing with patients undergoes, including reviews of federal HIPPA laws and patients' rights rules.

"It's definitely something that's disturbing in any way, shape or form," even though certified nursing assistants and nurses undergo HIPPA training, Frankel says they still have to review Aperion Care's handbook and privacy rules as well, "we are trying to take every step possible to protect the privacy of our residents."

DeVaux's record shows she participated in at least seven classes between 2013 and 2015 about patient privacy and rights. Aperion Care also had records of her signatures on privacy acknowledgments upon her employment.

While Frankel wouldn't comment on the ongoing investigation, he said violations of law and policies would warrant immediate termination.