Patient abuser gets a year’s probation, loses certification
By Peter H. Milliken
An Alameda Avenue man was sentenced to one year’s probation after pleading guilty to one count of patient abuse and relinquishing his state-tested nurse-aide certification.
Timothy P. Harrell, 28, drew the sentence Friday from Judge John M. Durkin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, who told Harrell he is barred from working with elderly or disabled people in any capacity.
Harrell initially was indicted on four counts each of rape and sexual battery, two counts of gross sexual imposition and one count of patient abuse.
The rape and sexual-battery charges and one gross-sexual- imposition count pertain to Harrell’s purported conduct in September 2011 with a female Valley Renaissance nursing home resident, who has since died.
One gross-sexual-imposition count and the patient-abuse charge in the April 2012 indictment pertained to Harrell’s earlier purported conduct with a disabled resident at a Gateways to Better Living group home between Dec. 1, 2010, and Jan. 3, 2011.
The prosecution dropped all but the patient-abuse charge in the plea agreement, which says both victims are to be included in the patient-abuse count to which Harrell pleaded guilty.
The case was investigated by the Ohio Department of Health.
The plea agreement, signed by Dawn Cantalamessa, an assistant county prosecutor, said the prosecution would recommend probation and that Harrell would give up his state-tested nurse-aide certification and no longer work with the elderly.
Cantalamessa said the unavailability of testimony from one victim due to her death would have made the outcome of a trial uncertain.
“This was, quite frankly, a highly contested case as it relates to many legal and factual issues,” Judge Durkin said.
Harrell worked at two other local nursing homes between his departure from Valley Renaissance and his arrest, which followed a lengthy investigation, Cantalamessa said.
In another case, Judge Durkin sentenced Joshua Reynolds, 28, of East Oregon Avenue, Sebring, to five years’ probation with mental-health treatment and 100 hours of community service after Reynolds pleaded guilty to sexually propositioning a police officer posing as a 12-year-old through a May 16, 2013, text message.
Based on his guilty plea to the importuning charge, Reynolds must register annually as a sex offender for 15 years.
“It is very fortunate that the police department immediately became involved in this and did a great job investigating and preventing any tragedy,” Judge Durkin told Reynolds.
Neither Harrell nor Reynolds had any prior criminal record.