A.G. Schneiderman Announces Arrest And Guilty Plea Of Erie County Nurse Aide For Taking And Exchanging Compromising Photograph Of Incontinenet Patient Via Snapchat

Defendant Admits To Surreptitiously Photographing Patient In State Of Undress

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the arrest of Edward J. Melock, a nurse aide in Erie County, for taking and exchanging a compromising photograph of an incontinent patient via the smartphone app Snapchat. Melock, who was employed at Greenfield Health and Rehabilitation Center in Lancaster, was accused of taking the photograph of an elderly patient in a state of undress on or about March 1, 2013, and sharing it via Snapchat.

The defendant was charged with Unlawful Surveillance in the Second Degree, a class E felony; Dissemination of an Unlawful Surveillance Image in the First Degree, a class E felony; and Wilful Violation of Health Laws, an unclassified misdemeanor. Melock entered a guilty plea on the charge of Wilful Violation of Health Laws and was sentenced to one year conditional discharge with 100 hours of community service. The defendant also surrendered his CNA certificate.

“Those who care for our loved ones in nursing facilities across New York State have an important obligation to provide appropriate care to patients while treating them with dignity and respect,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Individuals who betray this important trust will face consequences and my office will do everything it can to protect the most vulnerable.”

The complaint, filed in Lancaster Town Court, alleged that the defendant was performing incontinent care on a resident when he took the compromising photograph of the patient and sent it to an acquaintance. Mr. Melock, in a handwritten statement, admitted to taking and sending the photograph. A manager for Mr. Melock said the picture was taken for no legitimate purpose in the care of the resident and that due to the lack of mental capacity of the resident, the defendant did not have the consent of the resident to take the photograph.

This case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Thomas Schleif of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. The case was investigated by Investigator Katie O’Neill of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is led by Acting Director Amy Held. The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is part of the Division of Criminal Justice led by Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Kelly Donovan.

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