Nursing home employee arrested on assault charges

March 4, 2011 9:58:46 PM PST
A North Bergen nursing home worker is accused of beating an 87-year-old, and the whole thing was caught on tape.

Lieutenant Cannella is still disgusted at what he had to watch.

A hidden camera video allegedly shows 59-year old Julia Galvan hitting a paralyzed, terminally ill woman at the Harborage Nursing Home in North Bergen.

Galvan hit the woman repeatedly, investigators said.

"Like she forgot to hit her again. Boom! Just like that she would hit her and walk away," said Lieutenant Cannella.

Modesta Alvarado died two days after the video was taken. The Medical Examiner was looking into whether the assault played any role in her death.

The woman's daughter had suspected the nursing home wasn't properly taking care of her dying mother, so she set up a camera inside a clock. Police say she never thought she would capture what she did.

Lieutenant Canella was in the room when Galvan saw the video and confessed to the abuse.

"Her only answer was, she was stressed. I've been in this business a long time. Nothing is supposed to shock our senses, but I've never seen anything like this before. It's disturbing," he said.

The nursing home released a statement late Friday night, saying it is working in concert and fully cooperating with the North Bergen Police Department. Harborage said Galvan has been fired.

"Our foremost priority is the safety, well being and health of all residents and that is clearly demonstrated by our outstanding record to our community and the residents at The Harborage. The actions of this one individual do not reflect the standards implemented by our staff and our significant efforts in caring for our residents," the statement read.

Harborage officials said they have conducted meetings with resident family members and our staff to immediately address all issues or concerns.

Galvan has been charged with assault and neglect of the elderly. She is free on 5-thousand dollars bail.