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Neglect, abuse charges filed against operator of Lansdowne adult-care home

Griffin's Loving Care Assisted Living in Lansdowne was closed in March after state inspectors found 16 residents in a facility licensed for four beds.
Griffin's Loving Care Assisted Living in Lansdowne was closed in March after state inspectors found 16 residents in a facility licensed for four beds.(Jon Bleiweis/BSMG)

The owner and a worker at a Lansdowne assisted-living home where 16 residents were found in a facility licensed for four beds have been charged with multiple criminal counts of neglect and reckless endangerment, the Baltimore County prosecutor's office announced Thursday.

Dione Griffin, owner of Griffin's Loving Care Assisted Living, and Dijon Lee, Griffin's 25-year-old daughter and an employee at the home, were indicted last week by a county grand jury and each charged with six counts of vulnerable adult neglect, according to the state's attorney's office.

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Griffin, 44, also was charged with seven counts of reckless endangerment, while Lee was charged with six. Griffin also faces a single charge of vulnerable adult abuse. In addition, they both are accused of unlawful possession of painkillers.

State regulators have suspended the license of a Lansdowne assisted-living home where inspectors earlier this month determined 16 residents were living in a facility with permission to operate just four beds.

The indictments, handed down June 14 but not announced until Thursday afternoon, stem from a county police and state health department investigation after state regulators received a complaint in March about conditions at the Clyde Avenue property that housed frail residents aged 50 to 95.

Griffin and Lee turned themselves in to authorities Wednesday and were released after each posted bond of $30,000, according to John Magee, chief of the family violence division of the prosecutor's office.

The women, who live in Nottingham, could not be reached for comment. Attorneys were not listed in online court records. A date for a formal arraignment, where charges against them will be spelled out, has not been set, Magee said.

State regulators have started the process to revoke Griffin's operator's license, a move that would bar her from operating a home for at least 10 years. She has failed to appear at two hearings to contest the suspension of her license. A spokesman for the health department declined comment Thursday on the indictments.

The Maryland Attorney General's office has conducted its own investigation, which Magee said is not unusual in cases involving nursing homes. A spokeswoman said the attorney general's office does not comment on ongoing or pending investigations.

Magee declined to elaborate on details of the investigation. Baltimore County police detectives forwarded the findings of their investigation to the state's attorney this spring. The case was presented to a grand jury over the course of a day, Magee said.

State regulators are moving to revoke the license of a Lansdowne assisted living center that was ordered closed this spring after investigators found 16 people

"Abuse is obviously causing some sort of physical pain or injury as a result of some sort of inhumane type treatment," Magee said of the charges.

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Neglect involves failing to provide for a person's daily needs, such as toileting, supervision or food, Magee said.

If convicted, both face up to five years in prison for each count of vulnerable adult neglect, each count of reckless endangerment and on charges of possession with intent to distribute hydrocodone, a painkiller, according to prosecutors.

Griffin also faces up to five years if convicted of vulnerable adult abuse.

Both also face charges of unlawful possession of morphine, Tramadol, Hydromorphone and Oxycodone. Magee declined to comment on the nature of the drug-related charges.

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene suspended Griffin's license in March after investigators discovered 14 residents locked in two rooms with no food, water, bathroom access or supervision, according to a suspension letter sent to Griffin.

The Office of Health Care Quality investigators found two residents locked in a room downstairs, and 12 more residents locked in rooms upstairs. All residents, including two others who were not at the home during the inspection, were moved to other homes.

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Investigators arrived March 9 after receiving a tip from an 85-year-old resident's cousin who claims she found her relative tied to a chair, with the resident's moldy dentures on a sink, according to state health and county police accounts.

In state inspections before the March 9 inspection, the building complied with the four-person capacity, although state records show there were other problems, including an inadequate amount of food. Seven of eight state inspection visits between July 2014 and October 2016, were prompted by complaints, according to reports on file with the health department.

The state on Monday advanced efforts to revoke the license of a Lansdowne assisted living center that was closed in March after investigators found 16 people

Inspectors found 17 beds in the Clyde Avenue house, which was clean and well maintained, according to a state report on the March inspection.



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