HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced felony charges today against an Erie man for pouring scalding water on a mentally disabled man and severely burning him in an Erie facility.
Akeem Nixon, 26, of German Street, Erie, was charged with neglect of a care-dependent person and aggravated assault — first-degree felonies – as a result of the incident. The victim was hospitalized for 17 days and suffered second-degree burns over 20 percent of his body.
“This defendant assaulted a disabled man in his care with scalding water,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “We’re going to hold him accountable for this criminal conduct. We’re using every resource at our disposal to protect care-dependent Pennsylvanians.”
Nixon poured scalding water on the man living at Lakeshore Community Services in Erie while Nixon was employed as a direct support aide at the residential home for intellectually disabled persons. Nixon was suspended from his job the day after the incident, and has not returned to work.
On June 17, Nixon and another direct support aide were scheduled to work during the day, with the other aide planning to attend an off-site event with another Lakeshore resident. Nixon stayed at the residence alone with the victim, a 38-year-old man with cerebral palsy.
When the other caregiver returned that evening, Nixon told him the victim was asleep. Nixon left a short time later at the end of his shift. Another direct support aide arrived, and the victim emerged from his bedroom. The victim said, “Hurt, hurt,” according to the Criminal Complaint. Both caregivers observed visible burns on the victim, and quickly transported him to a hospital.
At the hospital, a doctor evaluated the victim’s injuries, and estimated the victim had second-degree burns covering 20 percent of his body. Medical records show the victim sustained “deep and partial superficial thickness burns to his buttocks, bilateral groin, abdomen, chest and back.”
Based on medical evidence of the burns, statements from the victim and safety protocols in place at the Lakeshore residence, investigators determined the victim could not have heated water to a temperature able to cause the severe burns himself. The victim also verbally indicated that Nixon was the person responsible for his injuries.
“Strong collaboration between Erie Police and our agents made the arrest of this support aide possible,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “Our Medicaid Fraud Control Unit’s Neglect Team works every day to protect seniors and vulnerable citizens and will pursue justice against anyone who harms a care-dependent Pennsylvanian.”
Nixon was preliminarily arraigned on the charges last night in Erie, and bail was set at $100,000. A preliminary hearing will be held on Dec. 7. The case will be prosecuted by Deputy Attorney General Nathan Giunta of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Neglect Team.
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