PORT COQUITLAM (NEWS 1130) – A British Columbia caregiver who pleaded guilty to assaulting a partially paralyzed 88-year-old woman suffering from Alzheimer’s disease has been sentenced to 60 days in jail.
Lydia Llanto must serve the time consecutively from Friday to Sunday evenings for the abuse that was captured on a video camera installed at a care home.
Provincial court Judge Wilson Lee says in a written ruling issued in April that concerns about potential abuse against Malekah Kazemi came to light when she asked her son not to leave during a visit, telling him: “This lady hits me.”
Lee says the woman couldn’t provide any details because of her advanced Alzheimer’s and paralysis due to a stroke, but her son, Dr. Kamyar Kazemi, set up a video camera in the room to see what was happening.
He says Kazemi watched a number of instances of Llanto hitting his mother on the head, face, mouth, legs and forehead, and in one case she held up a fruit knife in a threatening way.
The ruling says the abuse was recorded between Nov. 3 and 5, 2016, though the Crown suggests it’s indicative of conduct that had occurred for much longer.
Kazemi was not able to provide a victim impact statement, but her son told a sentencing hearing that Llanto was a trusted and well-loved care aide for his mother for four years before he learned what was going on.
“He says that viewing the abuse suffered by his mother in the video makes him imagine the years of abuse that she may have suffered and being unable to report it,” the ruling says.
“This causes him considerable guilt and shame and he is haunted by the images in the videos. He further stated that in the last two years his mother suffered from multiple bruises that Ms. Llanto explained away as being caused by transfers to her bed.”
Lee says Llanto claimed in a pre-sentencing report that she was working very long hours at the time of the offence and that she routinely slept at the care home. Staff confirmed her hours were often 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and that she sometimes stayed overnight.
The ruling says Llanto reported being hit by her former husband when he was drunk and that she is remorseful for her actions, leading her to seek counselling.
Lee has ordered Llanto to write a letter of apology to the Kazemi family and to provide it to her probation officer by June 1. He also prohibited her from working in a job requiring her to care for vulnerable children or the elderly.