- Associated Press - Thursday, February 27, 2014

BEATRICE, Neb. (AP) - A former Beatrice State Developmental Center worker convicted of abusing developmentally disabled adults has again been sentenced to prison.

On Wednesday Matthew Pangborn was given nine years and four months to 15 years. Pangborn will be serving consecutive sentences on three counts of abusing a vulnerable adult and two counts of strangulation. Prosecutors dropped four additional charges in return for Pangborn’s five pleas of no contest.

Defense attorney Brett McArthur asked Judge Gage County District Court Judge Paul Korslund to give Pangborn a short sentence.

“The overall balance of his life is a law-abiding, financially responsible citizen,” McArthur said. “He has a family, he has young children he supported, he has paid his bills and taxes … these allegations do not represent the balance of who Matt Pangborn is.”

But the judge said Pangborn had violated the trust of his patients and their families.

“You are responsible for helping to create and maintain a pattern of abuse which inflicted great pain and suffering not only on the victims, but also on their families,” Korslund told Pangborn. “The Beatrice community and BSDC have also suffered as a result of your brutality and disregard for your responsibilities as a caregiver.”

Pangborn and 15 other employees at the Beatrice State Developmental Center were suspended in 2011 after an investigation into allegations of abuse. Pangborn and four other workers were charged. The others accepted plea deals and were given time behind bars.

In July 2012 Pangborn was found guilty of four counts of abusing a vulnerable adult and several other charges. He was sentenced to 15 to 23 years in prison. The Nebraska Supreme Court later determined that Pangborn should be retried because a chart prosecutors made shouldn’t have been given to the jury during deliberations.