PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A man accused of abusing residents at McGuire Memorial in Beaver County pleaded guilty to federal hate crime charges.
Tyler Smith of New Brighton pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania announced Monday in a release. Under a plea agreement, the 32-year-old faces at least five years in prison.
Last year,, who both worked at McGuire Memorial, were indicted on hate crime charges. The two were responsible for providing day-to-day care to individuals with severe physical and intellectual disabilities.
Smith and Dinell were accused of taking videos and photos of the abuse, which took place between 2016 and 2017. The alleged attacks, police said, ranged from punching and kicking to spraying irritants into patients' eyes and mouths. Thirteen residents were victimized, investigators said.
Prosecutors said in Monday's release that Smith admitted to officials that he and Dinnell texted about their animus toward the residents, shared photographs and videos of the residents, and encouraged each other to continue the abuse.
Due to their physical disabilities, the residents could not defend themselves.
Smith pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, ten counts of violating the federal hate crimes law and one count of concealing material facts in a health care matter last year. He was sentenced to 14 to 17 years in prison.
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