For the first time Monday the forensic nurse charged in a high profile patient abuse case faced tough questions from the prosecution.
A total of 10 employees from Connecticut’s maximum security psychiatric hospital were arrested in connection with the case.
The prosecution grilled former forensic nurse Mark Cusson during a cross examination lasting just under two hours.
The questions centered around how he treated Whiting Forensic Hospital patient Bill Shehadi in March 2017. Conduct, on surveillance tape, that, among other things, allegedly shows Cusson putting a mop on Shehadi’s head.
Cusson said he was mopping urine off Shehadi’s bed, and he did not recall putting the mop on Shehadi’s head, or over his head.
Cusson had told the jury how Shehadi is known for attacking staff - groping, biting, and punching them. Yet when asked why there’s video showing him putting his buttocks right in front of Shehadi’s face, he told prosecutors “I didn’t want to get kicked in head. I didn’t want to face him square on.”
A long parade of character witnesses called after Cusson took the stand made it clear though, that there was no ordinary course of treatment for Shehadi, and they got little or no guidance from administrators on how to handle him.
The prosecution also focused on Cusson’s contention that he wrapped his legs around Shehadi to, in effect, “swaddle” him, and calm him down. It contends this was really a form of restraint Cusson employed on Shehadi that he did not document.