- Associated Press - Monday, January 13, 2014

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - The former operator of a Boonsboro assisted-living center was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for neglecting an Alzheimer’s patient who fell through the unfinished floor of second-story bathroom.

The woman, then 84, suffered head, rib and back injuries that her daughter said caused a permanent loss of mobility.

Dickson Tabi, 54, of Silver Spring, told the court he panicked when he found Eileen Rindone lying on the dining room floor beneath a hole in the nine-foot ceiling. He carried her to bed, patched the hole and waited at least five hours to call 911, police say.

Tabi, a native of Cameroon, apologized for causing pain to Rindone and her family. But Washington County Circuit Judge M. Kenneth Long said Tabi’s actions showed a conscious desire to avoid taking responsibility.

“Sometimes the panic occurs and great harm comes from it. Sometimes the panic occurs and a lot of harm comes from it, and that’s what happened here,” Long said.

He suspended another five years of prison time and ordered Tabi to make restitution of nearly $14,600. After his release, in as little as a year, Tabi will be on supervised probation for five years. He is prohibited from providing home health care during that time.

Rindone’s daughter Michele Carpenter told the court Tabi had already been punished when the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene revoked the facility’s license in March.

But Carpenter said after the hearing that the prison sentence was not too harsh.

“He’s not doing much” time, she said.

The facility in Boonsboro, about 60 miles west of Baltimore, had been open a year before the accident on Aug. 9, 2012. Tabi, who has a bachelor’s degree from Atlantic Union College, said he studied design but felt a calling to assist the elderly.

Tabi has drunken-driving convictions in Massachusetts and Minnesota, according to his lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Carl Creeden.

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