Waukesha woman faces felony charge, accused of punching dementia patient

WAUKESHA COUNTY -- 38-year-old Angela Gabriel of Waukesha is accused of abusing a patient at the Waukesha Springs Health and Rehabilitation Center, an in-patient care facility for patients with dementia. Gabriel now faces a felony charge of "intentionally abuse patients -- likely to cause great harm."

According to the criminal complaint, an officer was dispatched to the center on April 29, 2016 to investigate a report of a battery. The officer spoke with an administrator at the facility who indicated there "had been several complaints about behavior and about violence by staff members against patients." The investigating officer learned of one incident in particular a couple of weeks earlier from a nurse at the center.

The complaint indicates the nurse and Gabriel went into the room of a patient on April 13th. The patient is known to have dementia -- and was apparently calling Gabriel and the nurse names while they were in the room. The nurse told the officer at one point, Gabriel punched the patient in the back. The complaint says the patient "indicated that he was calling the police and the defendant indicated she did not mean to hit (the patient) that hard."

The complaint says the nurse told the investigating officer that "approximately thirty minutes later when she was in the nurses station, the defendant came up to her and asked her not to tell anyone what had happened because she could get into big trouble."

A follow-up investigation on this incident was conducted -- and a detective spoke with the patient in this case. That patient "did not recall being struck by the defendant." But he also had no recollection of speaking with an officer about the matter.

The complaint says the detective also spoke with the nurse who witnessed this incident. The complaint says "when asked by the detective to use a one to ten scale to describe how hard the defendant punched (the patient) with ten being a knockout punch, (the nurse) indicated she estimated the punch would have been an eight on that scale." She told the detective she observed the patient "wince in pain after being punched."

If convicted, Gabriel faces up to ten years in prison and $25,000 in fines.