State police have arrested a 10th staff member of the Whiting Forensic Division, the state’s maximum security psychiatric hospital, amid investigations into the abuse of a patient.
Michael Presnick, 26, of Cromwell, a forensic nurse at Whiting, was arrested Wednesday and charged with intentional cruelty to persons and disorderly conduct.
Police released the arrest warrant Wednesday.
The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters previously obtained arrest warrant for other staffers who were previously arrested. Those prior documents said staffers who were arrested were accused of offenses of varying degrees, from as severe as kicking a 59-year-old patient to the point of knocking him off his bed, to putting a soiled diaper on his head, to simply poking him repeatedly.
Presnick is accused of spraying the patient in the face with an aerosol spray and putting a diaper over the patient’s pants, according to the arrest warrant.
He was placed on administrative leave in March 2017 for an unspecified reason, according to police.
When detectives went to his Cromwell home in May, Presnick described the patient as difficult to deal with and said the diaper he put over the patient’s pants was cleaned and unused, according to the arrest warrant.
He also said the spray bottle contained Vaseline, which is applied as a part of the victim’s treatment, and sprayed all over his body, including his face. He told investigators that spraying the man was not done maliciously.
However, when detectives spoke with a doctor about the incident, he said the spray would not be used for fear of causing irritation or damage to the patient’s eyes, the arrest warrant states.
Bond for Presnick was set at $25,000.
The Whiting Forensic Division in Middletown is Connecticut’s maximum security psychiatric hospital.
In a prior statement, the SEIU Healthcare 1199NE union spokeswoman Jennifer Schneider wrote:
"Patient abuse is totally unacceptable. The events of the last few months have made it clear that there is much needed reform required at Whiting Forensic. Our members are working to develop reform policies in an effort to help eliminate these abuses and make Whiting a safer and more efficient facility."