Three former nursing home care staff, , 22, , 21, and , 19, accused of abusing an elderly woman in their care have been found not guilty of assault and related charges.
Court of Common Pleas Judge Kevin Kelly on Thursday afternoon called the defendants’ actions “repugnant” and showed a lack of appreciation to then 78-year-old Lois McCallister, who suffers from severe dementia, but said that based on the facts presented in the case he had to find them not guilty.
The three defendants cried once the verdict was announced and hugged their lawyers. Once the court was adjourned, none of the defendants wanted to comment to the press and only one of the three lawyers spoke to the media.
Authorities said that Traynham, Griffin and Muhammad forced McCallister to go topless and mocked and abused her in one incident in March of this year when McCallister was 78 years old. She is now 79.
The three were charged with assault and related charges. Video of that incident .
“I think it’s the right verdict. … I thought the tape is exactly what it showed. There was nothing on that tape. … The first time I saw it back in the day of the preliminary hearing I kept on thinking, ‘They must have another tape because I can’t see anything,’” said Michael Malloy, who represented Traynham. “I’m not even sure how the charges came forward.
“When you look at that tape, it’s like “Where’s Waldo?” he said of the interactions of the defendants and McCallister that was recorded on the tape.
He said that Traynham has graduated from a community college and plans to attend La Salle University to get her nursing degree this spring semester.
While McCallister’s son-in-law Paul French did not want to speak to the Haverford-Havertown Patch or the rest of the press after the verdict was reach, he did call the Patch to share his thoughts of Kelly’s ruling.
“It’s horrible. … It seems like no justice has been done,” French said of the verdict and sounding very emotional in the phone interview. “What are we saying in Delaware County? At what point do we stop (elderly abuse)?”
French installed a hidden video camera in McCallister’s room at the Quadrangle after she complained to her family that she was being abused. French said that he wants to release the entire tape of the alleged abuse so people can watch it and come to their own conclusions.
“I want people to see the video and see if the judge made the right decision,” French continued. “(The judge) basically said, “It was wrong but it wasn’t criminal. … We are totally blown away about Delaware County. Maybe we should have waited for her to get a bone broken to get something done.
“The court system blew us off,” he said forcefully.
French did praise the efforts of the Haverford Township Police Department, including Detective Stephen Laughlin and Assistant District Attorney Robert Manzi, who tried the case.
The DA’s office did issue a statement late Thursday afternoon about the verdict.
"During the bench trial, Judge Kelly acting as the finder of fact listened to the case presented by the Commonwealth that included testimony and evidence as well as evidence presented by the defendants. The Commonwealth presented sufficient evidence within the meaning of the law. It is the role of the Office of the District Attorney to present testimony and evidence to the finder of the fact, and ultimately, it is the finder of fact who makes the decision," the statement read.
French was asked about the civil suit that the French Family .
“This is not about money. It never was. This was about (McCallister). I could care less if we get the money,” answered French.
When asked how his wife and McCallister’s daughter Mary French responded to the news of the verdict, he answered that she was distraught over the ruling.
McCallister is currently living with the French Family.