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Woman guilty of abusing man with disability

November 09, 2000

Woman guilty of abusing man with disability



A Hagerstown woman who admitted locking a mentally retarded adult outside the Potomac Center on a sub-freezing night last December could face a five-year prison sentence.

Amelia Louise Chaney, 54, of 115 Catawba Place, No. 2, was found guilty of one count of vulnerable adult abuse Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court.

"I'd like to know more about Miss Chaney," said Judge Frederick Wright. "I know she was mean on this occasion but was it an isolated incident?"

Washington County State's Attorney Kenneth Long said the incident with the 37-year-old profoundly retarded man occurred Dec. 3, 1999.

Working the night shift at the Potomac Center on Marshall Street, Chaney was on duty at the men's cottage when she discovered a man walking the hallways after midnight, Long said.

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She was heard yelling profanities at the man, Long said.

Around 5 a.m., the man was heard banging his head on a locked door. He was outside in his boxer shorts and a T-shirt.

"Chaney was heard to say he could freeze to death," Long said. "She told others she locked him out because he wouldn't go to bed."

A tentative agreement for no jail time for Chaney didn't sit well with the man's parents, who were in the courtroom Thursday.

Crying softly, his mother spoke up when Wright asked if she and her husband had a problem with that agreement.

"The proposed disposition isn't acceptable," the mother said. "I'm sorry ... I mean I'm not sorry."

Wright ordered a pre-sentence investigation with an emphasis on interviews with others at the Potomac Center and Chaney's other employment.

She remained free on bond pending sentencing.

- Marlo Barnhart

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