Man accused of assaulting man with dementia

Published 8:45 am Friday, May 4, 2018

Justin Thomas Ambrus, 30, of Austin was charged on Thursday in Mower County District Court with gross misdemeanor fourth-degree assault of a vulnerable adult.

According to the court complaint, an officer responded to an assault report on March 5 at Our House Senior Living. The incident occurred on March 3 and involved an 85-year-old man with dementia. The officer spoke to the manager, who said the incident occurred when a female staff member went to change the man’s adult diaper and he got upset and grabbed her wrist.

The manager reported that Ambrus, who was also a staff member, went into the room and “restrained” the man, resulting in bruises on his hands and arms. Ambrus had been suspended for the incident.

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A detective reviewed a written statement from the female employee, which said she was attempting to change the man’s diaper when he got upset and grabbed her wrist, according to the complaint. She was able to get loose and rang the “call button” for Ambrus to assist her. She tried again, but the man again grabbed her wrist. The statement said Ambrus entered the room, yelled at the man and removed his hand from her wrist. The man then slapped her, so Ambrus grabbed his wrist. She stated she went to get a “soaker pad” and when she returned to the room, Ambrus was restraining the man, who was bleeding from his hand. When she asked Ambrus what happened, he said she caused the man’s hand to bleed, though it was not bleeding when she left. She also indicated that Ambrus had pulled the man’s blanket over his head and had his hand on the man’s face.

An injury report showed the man had bruises on his left elbow and left hand thumb and a skin tear on his right hand, according to the complaint.

The detective met with another staff member who had spoken to Ambrus about the incident. According to her notes, Ambrus said he entered the room and saw the man had a hold on the other staff member’s wrist and hair and that she could not get free. He said he ordered the man to let her go and, after the man slapped her, held the man’s hands to his chest. He allegedly claimed the man tried to kick him and that the blood was from an old skin tear that reopened.

Her notes also indicated that, when asked about the blanket being pulled over the man’s head, Ambrus said he was “sick of being treated this way at work, getting hit and kicked all the time. It’s not fair.” She told the detective the man has limited use of his legs and it would have been easy for Ambrus to disengage after the other employee was released.

The alleged victim was unable to be interviewed due to the advanced stage of his dementia, according to the complaint.

The detective then met with the other staff member involved in the incident. She alleged that Ambrus was “angry all the time” and had to be reminded not to yell at the residents. She said she had never seen the alleged victim use his legs and believed that Ambrus “used too much force.”

The detective interviewed Ambrus, who said he heard the other staff member yelling for him and saw the man holding her hands and hair, according to the complaint. He told the man to “let her go,” and restrained his hands to his chest when he didn’t comply. Ambrus described the man as very aggressive and claimed he kept trying to hit and kick him while she went to get the soaker pad, so Ambrus went to the door to wait for her. When she returned, they changed the man’s diaper and saw there was blood from a prior wound on his hand.

When asked about the blanket, Ambrus said he was trying to calm the man down and was unsuccessful, according to the complaint.

Ambrus will appear in court again on May 17.