Former Arc of Northeastern Pennsylvania employees locked up after being accused of abuse

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(WBRE/WYOU) — Two former caregivers accused of abusing an individual with developmental disabilities are locked up in Lackawanna County.

39-year-old Lisa Wall of Duryea and 41-year-old Eileen Dougherty of Scranton turned themselves in Thursday morning. Investigators believe the abuse happened between January and March 2019.

This is what we know: the two women are former employees of The Arc of Northeastern Pennsylvania, working at one of its group homes. There, they took care of a resident with mental challenges.

According to court paperwork, 10 separate videos show the women throwing chicken in different areas of the home and laughing as the victim eats it, including under the toilet, shower, basement floor, porch, snow and grass, using similar phrases like front yard chicken to get the victim’s attention.

Documents also show the employees threw wet towels at the victim’s head and encouraged her to sing a racial word. Paperwork shows Scranton Police conducted a welfare check last month at the home.

They met with the state’s adult protective services acting on a tip in which Dougherty shared the videos with her ex-boyfriend on Facebook who reported it to the right people.

“When people are trusted to take care of their loved one and they violate that trust, it’s something that should really be frowned upon by everybody,” Scranton Police Chief Carl Graziano said.

“Once we were notified, we met with staff from protective services and the Scranton policemen. These two women were on duty at the time,” Maryclaire Kretsch, The Arc of Northeastern PA executive director, said. “It was later on when we had watched the videos and obviously we were horrified.”

Kretsch says the non-profit serves 350 people with developmental disabilities each week. Each caregiver is given a background check and training to provide the utmost care.

“The Arc utilizes every measure we can to prevent incidences like this,” Kretsch said.

District attorney Mark Powell says the acts alleged in this case are not only inappropriate, they are shocking and repulsive and commends adult protective services for bringing the case to light.

He also praised The Arc for fully cooperating with authorities. Arc leaders tell Eyewitness News they suspended Dougherty and Wall the same day police visited the home. The two resigned less than 24 hours later. Now they could face a maximum sentence of 50 years behind bars.

Both Wall and Dougherty told police the videos were poor taste and that it was wrong. As for the victim, Eyewitness News is told she is doing well.

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