AG: Nursing home aides indicted after photographing residents

Thomas Mocera, left, and David Rover, are charged

Thomas Mocera, left, and David Rover, are charged with felony unlawful surveillance counts, among other charges, for allegedly photographing patients at the nursing homes where they worked. (May 15, 2013) (Credit: NYS Attorney General)

Two certified nurses' aides from Centereach have been indicted on charges of photographing 11 residents of three Suffolk County nursing homes without their knowledge, state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said Wednesday.

Photos and recordings by David Rover, 25, and Thomas Mocera, 23, "depicted bedsores and other disturbing images" taken between September 2009 and March 2013 in residents' bedrooms, officials said.

The three nursing homes where the officials says the aides took photos of residents were Woodhaven Nursing Home, Port Jefferson Station; Jefferson's Ferry Lifecare Retirement Community, South Setauket; and the Long Island State Veterans Home in Stony Brook.


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The investigation started with a report of Rover, then an aide at Woodhaven Nursing Home, using his cellphone in August 2012 to photograph a resident's private area "covered with feces" and sending it to a nurse aide student, officials said.

The phone was seized in February by state investigators, who found images taken at all three facilities, the release said.

Rover was initially arrested in March and charged with second-degree unlawful surveillance and other charges.

He is now also charged with taking photos of a resident's "gruesome bedsore" and recording another "with late stage dementia and riveted with fear," the release said.

The investigation also found that he falsified documents, intending to defraud New York State, according to the release. In one instance, he is charged with inflating his work experience on a job application for the Long Island State Veterans Home and, in another, giving false information to try to get state unemployment insurance benefits, the release said.

In all, he was indicted on seven counts of unlawful surveillance, one count of dissemination of an unlawful surveillance image and other charges.

Mocera photographed "a veteran in bed with his overflowing colostomy bag exposed" and was seen "teasing a dementia resident," officials said.

Mocera was charged with five counts of unlawful surveillance.

A Jefferson's Ferry spokesman said Rover worked in the dining room, not in patient care. "Investigators found no evidence of disturbing images of our residents," he said.

Officials at the other two facilities could not be reached.

The men pleaded not guilty Tuesday in State Supreme Court in Central Islip and were released on their own recognizance. Rover's attorney, Patrick O'Connell of Central Islip, and Mocera's attorney, Tad Scharfenberg of Bohemia, said they look forward to mounting a defense but declined to comment further.

With Ellen Yan

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