Investigation launched after man in state care found covered in bruises

State Health Department looks into alleged abuse of disabled man at North Shore nursing facility

HAMMOND, LA (WVUE) - The state health department said Tuesday that it's looking into the alleged abuse of a mentally disabled man at a nursing facility near Hammond.

The man's family said they were stunned to find severe bruises on his face and body, and they want something done.

For most of his adult life, 43-year-old Robert Boneno, has been in and out of facilities designed to provide him full-time care.

"Robert is basically non-verbal. He may understand you, but he doesn't know how to do the normal, everyday things," said his mother, Fran Boneno.

Born with severe disabilities, his family says he has the mind of a 4 year old. He has never been able to care for himself, but his mother was stunned last week to find him with severe bruises on his face and much of his body.

"I think someone got frustrated. Whether it was another client or an employee I don't know, but they either punched him or threw him against a wall," said Fran.

She said it happened at the Evergreen nursing facility northwest of Hammond sometime in the past three weeks.

"I walked in and I was almost in tears, and the girl said, 'you didn't know about it?' No," said Fran.

Officials at Evergreen' said they were aware of the situation, but they referred us to a regional administrator for comment. The state health department confirms it has launched an investigation.

"DHH is checking into it. They were there at the facility yesterday," said Fran.

She said in spite of statements made by Evergreen, her son didn't do this to himself.

"I know my son. He doesn't do anything to hurt himself purposefully," said Fran.

Robert is now being treated at a wound care facility near Hammond as the investigation continues.

"If we can save one child from being hurt, that's what we want," said Fran.

And she said when Robert is released from wound care, he won't be going back.

Spokeswoman Sharon Gomez released the following statement: "We will complete a thorough investigation and work in conjunction with the appropriate authorities to resolve this incident."

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