Linda Kincaid & Susan Williams

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Eighty-year-old Gloria Bathgate found herself prisoner of a Johnston County, North Carolina guardianship just days after she arrived in the state.  Gloria was falsely imprisoned and unlawfully isolated at Oakview Commons Assisted Living Center in Raleigh.  Care in the facility was dismal.  She had several falls in the first few days and many unexplained bruises. Denied any contact with her daughter, Gloria’s physical and mental condition declined rapidly.

2007 – October 2010

Gloria enjoyed an active and sometimes flamboyant social life before moving to Raleigh.  A feisty and opinionated woman, Gloria was quick to express herself in colorful language peppered with expletives.  Her daughter, Susan Williams, still chuckles about Gloria wearing miniskirts and high heels at 77.

Living with her family since 2007, Gloria attended church three times a week and routinely played bingo at the firehouse with her firefighter grandson.  Her younger Eagle Scout grandson included her in his troop’s activities.   Gloria participated in elder activity programs most days of the week.  In the evenings, she cooked meals and helped her grandchildren with homework.

When the family planned their move from Pennsylvania to Raleigh, Gloria’s daughter Susan called ahead to North Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS).  North Carolina DSS told Susan that Gloria would have to establish residency in Raleigh before DSS would process any requests for services.

October 24, 2010

Gloria moved to Raleigh with her daughter and family.  Susan immediately called Johnston County DSS to request Medicaid, a hospital bed, elder day programs, and transportation assistance for Gloria.  DSS told Susan there could be a two-year wait before services were available.  DSS added, “If you wanted all those services, you should have stayed in Pennsylvania.”

Shannon West from Johnston County DSS visited the home and told Gloria she could receive services more quickly if she moved into Oakview Commons, an assisted living facility.  Gloria objected to leaving her family, but West assured Gloria that she could sign out of Oakview any time she wished.  Susan convinced Gloria to move into Oakview temporarily to obtain services.  Shortly before Halloween, Gloria signed herself into Oakveiw Commons on the advice of her daughter and Shannon West. 

West failed to inform Gloria that she was already approved for Medicaid on the date she signed into Oakview Commons.  Gloria could have received the services she needed to stay at home with her family.  However, the family would soon learn that a caring and supportive environment was not what West had in mind for Gloria.

November 2, 2010

Just a week after Gloria and her family moved to Raleigh, Shannon West petitioned Johnston County Court for guardianship of Gloria.  West blamed Susan for not procuring a hospital bed or the other services that Susan had requested for Gloria.  West’s petition concealed Susan’s requests for those services, and it concealed that West prevented Gloria receiving those services.

Ms. Bathgate’s daughter, Susan Williams, has failed to locate and secure a primary care physician to monitor her mother’s care…  Ms. Williams also stated that Ms. Bathgate was in danger of falls and possible injury in her home because she does not have the necessary equipment to meet her mother’s need.  Ms. Bathgate is unable to access these services for herself.

Ms. Bathgate consented to placement in a long-term care facility to ensure that her needs would be met.

Life at Oakview Commons quickly became a nightmare of neglect and abuse.  Gloria experienced several falls in her first few days at Oakview.  She had unexplained bruises.  Susan noted dried feces on Gloria’s buttocks and thighs.  A male resident was providing personal care for Gloria, because no staff was available to assist with toileting.  Gloria begged Susan to take her home where she could be with family and have decent care.

Susan gathered Gloria’s clothing and prepared to take Gloria home.  They were stunned when Oakview Commons called the police.  Shannon West instructed police not to allow Gloria to leave Oakview Commons.  Oakview ordered Susan off the property.

West continued her campaign of terror by falsely accusing Susan of not having food in the house and accusing her of abusing her two foster children, for whom she was legal guardian.  As a result of West’s accusations, Susan was subjected to extensive investigations by Child Protective Services (CPS).  CPS found no deficiencies in Susan’s household.  Investigators were baffled as to why the complaints were filed and why Gloria was not allowed to return home.

November 10, 2010

Not content with temporarily separating Gloria from her loved ones, West endeavored to gain complete and permanent control.  West petitioned the court to deny Gloria any contact with her daughter.

Susan Williams, the disabled adult’s daughter, has refused to allow provision of services and has interfered with the provision of such protective services for the benefit of her mother, Gloria Bathgate.

Susan Williams is hereby enjoined from preventing the provision of protective services for the benefit of her mother, Gloria Bathgate, including but not limited to her being enjoined from going on the premises of Oakview Commons Assisted Living Center…and enjoined from telephoning said facility or in any way contacting the disabled adult in any manner(emphasis added).

West told Susan, “I’m gonna get your Mamma, one way or another.”  Then West pealed out of Susan’s driveway, casting gravel about as she sped onto the street.

December 13, 2010

Shannon West petitioned the court for permanent guardianship of Gloria.

Ms. Williams has threatened to come to the facility and remove Ms. Bathgate…  Ms. Bathgate is easily intimidated and manipulated by Susan Williams and is unable to comprehend that leaving the facility with Ms. Williams would result in a significant decline in her care.  Ms. Bathgate needs a legal guardian to make decisions for herself.

Johnston County Court appointed Shannon West as Gloria’s guardian.  For the next two years, Gloria suffered neglect and abuse at Oakview Commons.  Although she was eventually allowed to receive visits from her loved ones, her care remained dismal.  Gloria begged Susan to help her escape.

Having inherited full measure of her mother’s feistiness and tenacity, Susan refused to give up while Gloria was held prisoner.  Susan filed complaints, wrote letters pleading for help, and called for assistance from every resource imaginable.

June 2, 2011

Susan had called U.S. Senator Richard Burr, pleading with his office to help Gloria.  Senator Burr’s reply left Susan wondering how his office justified the tax dollars they receive.

Unfortunately, as a federal representative I do not have jurisdiction over state government agencies…  Therefore I am unable to intervene in this matter.

November 18, 2011

A letter from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services was even more offensive.

After a careful and thorough evaluation, we have concluded that Johnston County DSS acted in the best interest of Ms. Bathgate and continues to provide adequate and appropriate services.

Fall 2012

Susan’s tenacity in seeking help for her mother eventually led her to the Mayor’s office in Charleston, South Carolina.  Janet Schumacher of the Mayor’s Office on Aging was the first government employee in two years to lend a sympathetic ear and take action to help.  Bewildered as to why Gloria was under guardianship, the Office on Aging facilitated Gloria’s escape from Oakview Commons and Johnston County.

Schumacher connected Susan with individuals who arranged for Gloria’s transfer to a skilled nursing facility in South Carolina.  Gloria arrived in terrible physical condition, debilitated and in severe need of medical care.  Gloria lost the ability to walk after having no physical therapy for two and a half years.  She was incontinent and said she was “fuzzy” from being over-medicated.  None of Gloria’s clothing came with her from Oakview Commons, and her hearing aids were lost.  But Gloria was finally free of the abusive facility and farther from Shannon West.

Susan is working with a number of individuals in South Carolina to arrange the rehabilitation and physical therapy that Gloria needs after her ordeal.  Susan hopes to be appointed guardian for Gloria so the family can again provide the care and companionship Gloria was denied in Raleigh.

The nightmare continues, however.  Shannon West and Johnston County DSS object to Susan filing complaints about the abuse and sharing Gloria’s story with the media.  Almost daily, Johnston County DSS threatens Susan that they will again take her mother from her.

November 10, 2010

Not content with temporarily separating Gloria from her loved ones, West endeavored to gain complete and permanent control.  West petitioned the court to deny Gloria any contact with her daughter.

Susan Williams, the disabled adult’s daughter, has refused to allow provision of services and has interfered with the provision of such protective services for the benefit of her mother, Gloria Bathgate.

Susan Williams is hereby enjoined from preventing the provision of protective services for the benefit of her mother, Gloria Bathgate, including but not limited to her being enjoined from going on the premises of Oakview Commons Assisted Living Center…and enjoined from telephoning said facility or in any way contacting the disabled adult in any manner(emphasis added).

West told Susan, “I’m gonna get your Mamma, one way or another.”  Then West pealed out of Susan’s driveway, casting gravel about as she sped onto the street.

December 13, 2010

Shannon West petitioned the court for permanent guardianship of Gloria.

Ms. Williams has threatened to come to the facility and remove Ms. Bathgate…  Ms. Bathgate is easily intimidated and manipulated by Susan Williams and is unable to comprehend that leaving the facility with Ms. Williams would result in a significant decline in her care.  Ms. Bathgate needs a legal guardian to make decisions for herself.

Johnston County Court appointed Shannon West as Gloria’s guardian.  For the next two years, Gloria suffered neglect and abuse at Oakview Commons.  Although she was eventually allowed to receive visits from her loved ones, her care remained dismal.  Gloria begged Susan to help her escape.

Having inherited full measure of her mother’s feistiness and tenacity, Susan refused to give up while Gloria was held prisoner.  Susan filed complaints, wrote letters pleading for help, and called for assistance from every resource imaginable.

June 2, 2011

Susan had called U.S. Senator Richard Burr, pleading with his office to help Gloria.  Senator Burr’s reply left Susan wondering how his office justified the tax dollars they receive.

Unfortunately, as a federal representative I do not have jurisdiction over state government agencies…  Therefore I am unable to intervene in this matter.

November 18, 2011

A letter from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services was even more offensive.

After a careful and thorough evaluation, we have concluded that Johnston County DSS acted in the best interest of Ms. Bathgate and continues to provide adequate and appropriate services.

Fall 2012

Susan’s tenacity in seeking help for her mother eventually led her to the Mayor’s office in Charleston, South Carolina.  Janet Schumacher of the Mayor’s Office on Aging was the first government employee in two years to lend a sympathetic ear and take action to help.  Bewildered as to why Gloria was under guardianship, the Office on Aging facilitated Gloria’s escape from Oakview Commons and Johnston County.

Schumacher connected Susan with individuals who arranged for Gloria’s transfer to a skilled nursing facility in South Carolina.  Gloria arrived in terrible physical condition, debilitated and in severe need of medical care.  Gloria lost the ability to walk after having no physical therapy for two and a half years.  She was incontinent and said she was “fuzzy” from being over-medicated.  None of Gloria’s clothing came with her from Oakview Commons, and her hearing aids were lost.  But Gloria was finally free of the abusive facility and farther from Shannon West.

Susan is working with a number of individuals in South Carolina to arrange the rehabilitation and physical therapy that Gloria needs after her ordeal.  Susan hopes to be appointed guardian for Gloria so the family can again provide the care and companionship Gloria was denied in Raleigh.

The nightmare continues, however.  Shannon West and Johnston County DSS object to Susan filing complaints about the abuse and sharing Gloria’s story with the media.  Almost daily, Johnston County DSS threatens Susan that they will again take her mother from her.

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