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Connecticut woman arrested in group home assault

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 12:23 PM EDT, Fri July 13, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Police say group home worker was arrested after a video surfaced that shows her abuse
  • Angelica Rivera admitted she was the attacker in the video and turned herself in, police say
  • She faces felony charges of unlawful restraint, cruelty and bias intimidation
  • Rivera has since been released on $25,000 bond

(CNN) -- Police say a Connecticut group home employee has been arrested after a video surfaced that shows her abusing a patient, dragging the woman by her hair and whipping her with a belt.

Angelica Rivera, 34, admitted she was the attacker in the video and turned herself in to East Hartford police Thursday, authorities said Friday.

She faces felony charges of unlawful restraint, cruelty and bias intimidation, and is expected to appear in court in Manchester, Connecticut, on August 1.

Rivera, who has since been released on $25,000 bond, is also charged with assault, abuse and disorderly conduct, all misdemeanors.

Angelica Rivera, 34, admitted she was the attacker in the video, police say.
Angelica Rivera, 34, admitted she was the attacker in the video, police say.

It is not clear who shot the video, and Rivera could not be immediately reached for comment.

On Tuesday, East Hartford police say, they received a suspicious act complaint from Options Unlimited Inc., the privately held nonprofit that operates the home, about a video it received.

The DVD was titled "The Perfect Employee" and sent to the operator of the home, authorities and a local television station, which prompted an investigation, police said Friday.

On Wednesday, detectives found and questioned Rivera, who then admitted to the abuse, they added. A day later, police say, they obtained an arrest warrant, which prompted the woman to turn herself in.

Options Unlimited responded earlier to the scandal, saying: "We are deeply saddened and appalled by this incident. As soon as we became aware of it, we took prompt action and placed the employee on unpaid administrative leave."

Terrence W. Macy, commissioner of Connecticut's Department of Developmental Services, said he was also outraged by the video.

"Why would one human being do this to any other human being?" he asked. "This is a person who requires a lot of support, bathing and assistance eating," he told CNN affiliate WFSB.

WFSB's reporting went on to say that state officials have examined other residents in the East Hartford group home but "found no bruises or other signs of recent abuse."

Macy confirmed that Rivera is no longer working at the group home and has been put on administrative leave without pay.

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