CLEARFIELD – Arguments on whether an 85-year-old woman in a nursing home should be subpoenaed to testify were heard by Judge Paul Cherry recently.
Attorney Chris Pentz is representing Chance Talen Myers, 28, of Morrisdale, who is accused of assaulting the woman while he worked at the facility.
Pentz previously subpoenaed her and when she failed to appear in court for a discovery hearing held in motions court, he asked Cherry to issue a bench warrant for her arrest.
A motion by the Commonwealth to quash a second subpoena was then filed leading to a hearing to discuss the matter.
Pentz explained that he served the subpoena himself for the hearing and read it to the victim. He again asked that it be enforced because she did not appear in court for the hearing.
Assistant District Attorney Jendi Schwab responded that the subpoena is not proper, and there is nothing that requires her testimony in this stage of the process and asked that it not be enforced.
Pentz stated that “there is no better witness than the victim” to testify about the case.
When asked by Cherry what the purpose of her testimony would be, Pentz said that she could answer questions about being served the subpoenas.
Schwab said Pentz’s motion to enforce the subpoena is asking the court without a hearing to request a warrant for her when there is nothing saying her testimony is necessary.
“This could go on indefinitely with the victim being subpoenaed for no purpose,” she said.
Pentz stated that it is not his intention to harass her.
Cherry asked if all Pentz wanted to do was ask why she wasn’t in court for the previous subpoena.
Pentz then stated that he wanted to establish her competency by asking if she got the subpoena and if she understood it.
He went on to ask Cherry to order a psychological report to determine she is competent. If she is found incompetent, he said he will withdraw all his motions but if she is competent, “she needs to be here.”
Schwab again stated there was no reason her testimony was required for the original motion that was regarding discovery.
Pentz stated “if they have an incompetent victim, they don’t have a case. They have a duty to acknowledge that and bring this to an end.” Schwab responded that she did not think the court had the authority to determine competency of the victim.
Cherry took the arguments under advisement and later issued an order granting the Commonwealth’s motion to quash the subpoena.
Myers is charged with neglect of care of a dependent person, strikes/shoves/kicks/ or attempts to threaten a care dependent person, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person, all misdemeanors.
The charges stem from incidents in March at the nursing home in Lawrence Township where Myers worked and the victim was a patient.
According to the affidavit, the resident reported that an employee fitting the description of Myers had stepped on her foot, grabbed her by the neck and pushed on her head. He also allegedly flipped her walker upside down in an effort to make her fall.
She stated that he had been abusing her for approximately a month.
The supervisor who took the report was allegedly able to see bruises on the victim’s neck, foot and chest areas. She was taken for an evaluation of her injuries at Penn Highlands Clearfield.
When a police officer spoke with the victim, she stated that Myers “scares and hurts her.” This officer was also reportedly able to see the bruises, which he photographed.
Police said the victim was questioned three separate times and always told the same story she originally reported to other employees of the nursing home.
In a review of her records, it was discovered that the victim who frequently needed assistance and would often use her call bell, began to request help less often after the alleged abuse was to have started, according to the complaint.