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2 care home workers fired, arrested after hidden camera films alleged abuse

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Two nursing assistants at a Minnesota care home have been fired and arrested, after footage from hidden cameras placed by concerned relatives allegedly showed them abusing residents.

Saint Therese of New Hope care center confirmed in a statement on its website Wednesday that it dismissed the two workers on June 29 after investigating allegations of abuse made against them. They have since been arrested by New Hope police.

Eight more nursing assistants were fired by the care center for failure to report and/or use of cell phones in residents' rooms, which is a violation of staff rules, the statement said.

The Star Tribune broke the news Wednesday morning, reporting that family members installed hidden "granny cams" in rooms after spotting bruises and cuts on their loved ones, and recorded several weeks of footage.

Although the nature of the abuse is unclear, New Hope city attorney Steven Sondrall told the newspaper that "inappropriate conduct definitely occurred" and said the staff "did things I would not want done to relatives of mine if they were in a nursing home."

"We are cooperating fully with authorities. We have taken numerous steps to prevent a recurrence, including implementation of a plan of correction," Saint Therese said on its website.

It added: "Any abuse of residents is intolerable, which is why the two employees involved were suspended immediately and then dismissed. We have extended our heartfelt apologies to the residents and their family. They remain residents at Saint Therese of New Hope."

Iris Freeman, president of the board at the Minnesota Elder Justice Center, told MPR: "Abuse should never occur in residential care, and yet in cases like this there are some signs, there are suspicions, there are good reasons to be concerned and those cameras were placed out of families' fears and frustrations."

She added that families and facilities should be "communicating from day one" to protect care residents.

Saint Therese is a nonprofit Catholic organization that opened in 1968, with other campuses located in Brooklyn Park and Shoreview, according to its website.

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