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Former employee at Mitchell-Bateman faces criminal charges

Oct. 23, 2013 @ 11:08 AM

HUNTINGTON -- A former employee at Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital has been charged with 13 misdemeanor counts of criminal invasion of privacy, accused of taking photos of nude patients at the psychiatric hospital.

West Virginia State Police Sgt. Greg Losh said Reuben Fetty, 38, of Ona turned himself in Tuesday morning and has been cooperating with the investigation, which began Oct. 16 after a third party discovered the photos on a cellphone and notified hospital staff.

Fetty resigned from his job Oct. 15, according to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, which manages the hospital.

Losh said several nude photos of mentally handicapped patients were discovered in the investigation, though it is unclear how many patients were photographed.

"Some of the pictures were unidentifiable because there wasn't a face," he said.

Investigators do not believe Fetty ever touched any of the patients or that his actions were sexually motivated.

"It appears Mr. Fetty saw this as a joke," Losh said. "It seems to be more of (him having) a sick sense of humor."

The Department of Health and Human Resources declined to comment on the investigation and reiterated the statement it released last week that its officials are cooperating with authorities and are working to protect their patients.

If he is found guilty, Fetty faces up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine on each count.

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