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Caregiver Accused of Abusing Elderly Man

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Gonella house
SANFORD — A Sanford family says their 99-year-old lovedone was abused by a caregiver and they say they have proof. FranzeGonella's daughter said she had noticed bruises on her father's body soshe hid a video camera in his room to tape interaction between him and hisin-home nurses aide.

What she saw shocked her. She took the tape to police and the aide,46-year-old Sally Kelly was arrested. Police say Kelly slapped, hit andotherwise abused the elderly invalid as he lay in his bed. Kelly ischarged with seven counts of domestic abuse of an elderly or disabledperson.

Lee County Assistant District Attorney Marci Barkley says the videotape will be very helpful evidence in proving the case, especially sinceGonella cannot speak for himself.

Jim Garner supervises the Community Alternative Program for the Lee CountyDepartment of Social Services. His agency set up the in-home care for theGonella family. While Garner admits there are occasionally problems, hesays most of the agency's 64 clients are happy with their care.

Kelly was actually employed by Parkview In-Home Aid, a state-licensed careprovider which is on the DSS referral list. DSS says the providers areresponsible for checking the backgrounds of the caregivers. In this case,there was no criminal record or history of abuse to alert the agency toany possible danger.

Incidentally, the Gonella family says they have no problem withParkview. They still employ caregivers from that company.

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