R. Scott Owens
PLACER COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY
10810 Justice Center Drive, Suite 240
Roseville, California 95678
For Immediate Release
Date: January 20, 2011
Public Information Officer
Assistant District Attorney
FORMER NURSE AT ASSISTED LIVING FACILITY IN ROSEVILLE GETS
10-MONTH JAIL TERM FOR STEALING MEDS FROM ELDERLY VICTIMS
A registered nurse who was in charge of health care at an assisted living facility in Roseville was sentenced Wednesday to 10 months in the Placer County jail and placed on three years probation for stealing prescribed medication from her elderly patients.
Marlene Delp, 64, was also given a three-year suspended prison sentence and was banned from providing health care to anyone during her three years on probation by Placer County Superior Court Judge Frances Kearney, who called the defendant’s crimes “a pretty horrific violation of trust.”
Several grown children of the elderly victims spoke to the court about the negative impact that Delp’s crimes had on their mothers.
Terry Humphrey said her family members placed their 87-year-old mother at the facility known as The Terraces after they met Delp and put their trust in her. She said they had been impressed by Delp’s positive attitude.
However, the family became concerned over the care after their mother, who suffers from dementia, twice dislocated her hip and also developed shingles, which caused the elderly victim considerable pain, Humphrey said.
Later, they learned that Delp had been stealing the mother’s pain pills.
“I don’t know how many tablets my mother didn’t receive,” Humphrey told the judge. “Mom suffered for six weeks with rashes and constant burning and stabbing pain. It was miserable for her to sit or lie down. She kept asking why the pain could not be stopped.”
Humphrey called Delp a “bully” and a “coward” for her treatment of the elderly and the stealing of medication.
“We’ll never forgive or forget what she did to our mom and the others who lived at The Terraces,” she said.
Prosecutor Jim Deslaurier of the Placer County District Attorney’s Office called Delp’s actions “the ultimate violation of trust.”
He said the theft of the medications subjected the elderly victims to “a high degree of pain.” He also felt that Delp had shown little remorse for her crimes and had continued to deny having a drug problem.
Following the sentencing, Deslaurier praised the Roseville Police Department for discovering multiple victims, as well as determining the widespread nature of the thefts.
“The investigators turned what originally began as a simple report of prescription drug theft into the more serious case of elder abuse,” he said. “Taking advantage of vulnerable victims is not tolerated in Placer County and we will do everything within our power to prosecute those who engage in this sort of conduct.”
Delp, who in October entered pleas of no contest to two felony counts – cruelty to a dependent adult and possession of a controlled substance – also spoke to the court during the sentencing.
She apologized for her criminal actions, saying there were no words to describe how sorry she felt.
“I disgraced my profession, my employer and myself,” she said. “I made bad judgments. I deeply, deeply regret it. I will live under this shadow until the day I die. God forbid that I have permanently harmed anyone.”
She also said she has no plans to get back into the profession of being a provider of health care.
While pronouncing the sentence, Judge Kearney said she was troubled by previous denials by Delp that she had any drug addiction problems.
“The medications – prescribed narcotics – were withheld from people who needed the care,” Kearney said. “It makes no sense. If there was no addiction, then what the heck was this case all about?”
Kearney said Delp can apply for alternative sentencing such as a work project or electronic monitoring after serving the first 150 days of her 300-day jail sentence.
Other conditions of Delp’s probation are that she cannot possess any drugs without a prescription and that she have no contact with her victims or their families. She is also prohibited from setting foot at The Terraces, from which she has been fired.
In addition, a representative from the California Board of Registered Nursing attended the sentencing and told the court that Delp is under investigation by the agency, which could revoke her license.