The owner and operators of a Fairfax District assisted living facility have been criminally charged with negligence in the deaths of 14 people, including 13 seniors and one employee, during the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Irvine-based Senior Living Management, Inc., and three managers – Loren Bernard Shook, 72; Kimberly Cheryl Butrum, 68; and Jason Michael Russo, 50 – were charged with 13 felony counts of elder endangerment and five felony counts of labor code violations causing death. The seniors who died were residents of Silverado’s Beverly Place facility at 330 N. Hayworth Ave. between March 19, 2020, and April 19, 2020, when a coronavirus outbreak occurred at the facility. A 32-year-old nurse who worked at Beverly Place also died from complications of COVID-19 during the outbreak, authorities said.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office alleges that Silverado admitted a new resident in March 2020 from New York City, which was a COVID-19 epicenter at the time. The next day, the new resident started showing signs of infection, authorities said. Prosecutors allege the resident was not medically assessed for the virus or other conditions.
“The investigation revealed that the Silverado management team was aware of the risks associated with admitting a new resident from a high-risk area and failed to follow the appropriate procedures to protect their employees and the vulnerable people in their care,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said. “These careless decisions created conditions that needlessly exposed Silverado staff and its residents to serious injury and tragically, death.”
The managers named in the case are accused of failing to follow clinical standards and not taking appropriate measures to isolate the new resident or require testing prior to admission. The facility also allegedly failed to prohibit entry of individuals who had engaged in domestic or international travel within the previous 14 days to areas where COVID-19 cases were confirmed, authorities said.
The 14 people who died as a result of the alleged negligence ranged in age from 32 to 94. Another 60 residents and 45 employees at the facility contracted COVID-19 during the period, according to the district attorney’s office.
The deceased victims were identified as Brittany Ringo, the nurse, and residents Elizabeth Cohen, Joseph Manduke, Catherine Apothaker, Jake Khorsandi, Albert Sarnoff, Dolores Sarnoff, Myrna Frank, Frank Piumetti, Jay Tedeman, Luba Paz, Kaye Kiddoo, Richard Herman and Michael Horn. It was not divulged if the resident from New York City was among those who died.
Senior Living Management did not return emails or calls seeking comment. Each charge carries a maximum four-year sentence in state prison, according to a district attorney’s office spokesperson.
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