A former aide at a Woodbury nursing home will spend four months in jail for hitting an 89-year-old dementia patient in the head with his own soiled diaper last year.
In addition to jail time, Karen Long, 58, of Salem, N.J., was sentenced yesterday to three years' probation and 50 hours of community service. She also must complete an anger-management program.
A Gloucester County jury convicted Long in October of assaulting an institutionalized elderly person. She was the first person in the county to be prosecuted for the crime, according to the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office.
Long worked as a nurse's aide at the Woodbury Mews nursing home, where Frank Markus lived in the memory-impaired unit. In the pre-dawn hours of Dec. 13, 2007, another employee saw Long strike Markus with the diaper.
The World War II Navy veteran and former Boy Scout leader and Little League coach died six weeks later. Family members said he was traumatized by the assault, which left him fearful and withdrawn.
Though Long was convicted of a fourth-degree offense, Deputy Gloucester County Trial Chief Michael Curwin recommended that she serve jail time. Superior Court Judge Walter L. Marshall Jr. agreed.
"While the assault may not have appeared serious from a physical standpoint, the effect on [the victim] from an emotional standpoint appears to have been significant," Marshall said yesterday during sentencing.
Long will begin her jail sentence Jan. 6, according to the prosecutor's office.