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Nurse Allegedly Took Nude Photos of Elderly Patients and Sent to Coworker to ‘Humiliate' Them

People logo People 5/8/2019 Steve Helling
a person posing for the camera: Ashley Ann Smith © Allegheny County Police Ashley Ann Smith

A Pennsylvania nurse has been arrested after she allegedly took “explicit and private” photos of at least 17 elderly patients to send to a coworker.

Police allege Ashley Ann Smith, a licensed practical nurse, took the photos while working at Kane McKeesport Community Living Center, an assisted living center, between May 2017 and August 2018.

Smith, 30, has been charged with 30 crimes, PEOPLE confirms. The counts include multiple counts of abuse of care and invasion of privacy. She has also been charged with possession of child pornography after police allege they found two pornographic photos of a 2-year-old girl.

According to the criminal complaint first obtained by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the photos of elderly patients depict them in various states of undress. Some images showed patients “in need of immediate care and private situations,” according to the complaint. Police also say that a video on the phone depicted a nude patient undergoing an unspecified medical procedure.

“The images are explicit and private,” the complaint reads, “and some have the sole purpose to humiliate the patients.”

According to KDKA-TV, police became aware of the inappropriate photos after a Kane Hospital administrator contacted them on April 5. The administrator allegedly received the material from Smith’s former boyfriend, who was a former employee at the hospital.

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Smith’s former boyfriend, who is also the father of her child, has not been charged in the case.

Smith turned herself in last Friday. Her attorney, Frank Walker, declined to discuss the details of the case with the Post-Gazette. “I haven’t read the complaint yet, and I will be better able to talk about it when I speak to my client,” he told the newspaper. “Right now, the Constitution affords her the presumption of innocence, and she stands firmly on that.”

Smith had been employed at the hospital since 2015. According to a county roster obtained by the Post-Gazette, she earned a salary of $38,987.

A woman whose 90-year-old father was one of the alleged victims told the Post-Gazette that she was outraged at the allegations. “I could see that he could be easily manipulated,” the woman told the paper, adding that her father has dementia. “You’re taking advantage of people who don’t know their name, where they’re at or anything. That is so disturbing.”

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