Nursing home worker accused of attacking elderly woman

Tashica Harris, 32, is accused of attacking an elderly woman at a restaurant

August 9, 2011 4:57:22 PM PDT
We're asking questions after a woman who worked at an assisted living facility was accused of punching an elderly woman. The suspect has a criminal past.

Tashica Harris, 32, is charged with aggravated assault of an elderly person. It nothing to do with her employment at a Conroe assisted living center, but it still raises questions about why she was ever allowed to work there.

The Conroe restaurant has a group of regular customers; among them a 72-year-old woman and her husband. They were having an early dinner at Mama Jaunita's Mexican Restaurant on July 28 when police say the woman overheard three female customers being "rude to a waitress." She stood up for the waitress.

"These people found them objectionable and one of them walked over and hit them in the face," said Sgt. Joe Smart of the Conroe Police Department.

At least twice, police say. The woman had a broken nose and a black eye.

One week later, Harris was arrested. She was tracked down by her license plate and taken into custody at work, police say.

"It's a nursing home, I believe, where she works with elderly people," said Sgt. Smart.

According to Conroe police, Harris was arrested last Thursday at the Hearthstone at Rivershire Senior Assisted Living facility in Conroe. Arresting officers say Harris tried to hide in a patient's room.

Harris does have a criminal history. Court documents show that in 2004, Harris was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and spent 90 days in jail. In 2006, she pleaded guilty to robbery and received a sentence of two years. There was also a related retaliation charge.

Yet, the state bans employment of people convicted of certain violent crimes at nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

As for the woman who was beaten, police say she was reluctant to even file charges.

"She was afraid because of the nature of the assault, she was afraid of retaliation if she did pursue the charges. And it took some working with her on behalf of the detectives to get her to cooperate that far," said Sgt. Smart.

The director of the Hearthstone facility told us that Harris was an employee there, but has since been terminated. As for how she was hired with a criminal record, he said the company is now investigating.

Harris is now in jail on $50,000 bond.

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