Former Ridge staffer sentenced for 2018 abuse allegations

Posted at 10:01 PM, Mar 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-16 23:11:15-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A former employee for the Ridge Behavioral Health System in Lexington was sentenced Wednesday to one year of probation for a misdemeanor charge stemming from a 2018 abuse case.

Eunice Barnes, 27, was arrested in 2018 after she was accused of abuse and neglect of an elderly patient in her care.

The patient, who has since been identified as Vonda Mollett, 76, died in 2018. A civil suit filed by the family claimed the abuse she endured contributed to her death, although no criminal documents suggest that.

Prior to Barnes' sentencing Wednesday, Mollett's daughters spoke about the emotional pain associated with the case.

"My dad has crumbled," Kellie Christian told the court. "His health has failed miserably. He is broken. We are all broken."

According to an arrest warrant for Barnes in 2018, the former staff member slapped Mollett multiple times and dragged her while in the process of changing the victim's diaper. Barnes was also accused of continuously spraying the victim in the face with a shower sprayer.

The warrant noted that the victim was "unable to defend herself" due to her multiple ailments, including dementia.

"Mom was scared," Belinda Poe said. "As a dementia patient, she felt threatened and had no one to protect her."

Standing next to her lawyer, Barnes said she did not "act intentionally," but she did add an apology.

"I just want to say I'm sorry," Barnes said.

Judge Julie Goodman agreed with Barnes and her lawyer that Barnes acted "recklessly" rather than "intentionally."

Both sides had previously agreed to mediation, resulting in the charge against Barnes being reduced to a misdemeanor. During the sentencing hearing Wednesday, Judge Goodman cited Barnes' clean criminal record and good behavior while out on bond when handing down her sentence of probation.