A Frederick County Circuit Court judge said clips from a hidden video camera convinced her Thursday that the caregiver for a 92-year-old Frederick woman was guilty of abuse.
A condensed version of five hours of footage was played for Judge Theresa M. Adams, showing the interactions between Terry Lee Freland and the victim, Cathryn Rozanne Greene Dooly, on the evening of July 9, 2014.
Freland, 58, of the 400 block of Sagner Avenue, entered a plea of not guilty to abuse of a vulnerable adult and two counts of second-degree assault, but agreed to the prosecution’s statement of facts in the case.
However, her attorney argued that evidence in the case would not support a guilty verdict.
After hearing the facts and watching the video, Adams found Freland guilty of all three charges.
The recording came from a hidden “nanny cam” placed by Patricia Engleman, Dooly’s daughter.
The camera was in operation for only one day, July 9, 2014, for about five hours. As a result of the recording, police charged Freland with vulnerable adult abuse and 22 counts of second-degree assault.
The video shows Freland using a book to hit Dooly on the upper part of her body, possibly the side of her face. It also showed Freland slapping the woman’s face and arms, twisting her face and handling her in a generally rough manner.
In an earlier court hearing, Judge Julie Stevenson Solt concluded that the video — without the associated audio recording — would be allowed at trial.
Dooly was experiencing dementia and would not have been able to report the abuse or help in a prosecution, Assistant State’s Attorney Brett Jackson said. She died in December after falling ill with pneumonia.
Freland’s attorney, Barry H. Helfand, argued in court that the depictions in the video didn’t rise to the level of “cruel and inhumane” treatment required by the vulnerable adult abuse statute. Helfand also said that state law requires proof that the abuse caused pain to the victim. Because Dooly could not testify and there was no evidence of injuries as a direct result of the actions in the video footage, Freland should be found not guilty of the abuse charge, he said.
Adams disagreed. She said the video showed Dooly, who moved generally slowly, quickly bring her hand to her face and then wipe something away with a piece of fabric after being hit with the book. That, Adams concluded, was evidence of pain.
At sentencing, the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office will ask for a five-year prison sentence with an additional 10-year suspended sentence. Helfand will be free to argue for any sentence, including no active jail time.