BRISTOL - A Canton woman accused of assaulting an elderly security guard at Bristol Hospital has been placed in a program that will allow her to get treatment and avoid a conviction.
Ann Marie Dougherty, 53, appeared Thursday in Bristol Superior Court, where she was granted a supervised diversionary to get treatment for two psychiatric disorders.
Dougherty was arrested Nov. 9 on charges of third-degree assault and second-degree breach of peace. The charges were in connection with an incident at Bristol Hospital in which she allegedly kicked a 70-year-old security guard in the groin, according to court officials.
Ronald Dearstyne, the prosecutor, did not object to the granting of the program, but he also noted that those in the healthcare industry appear to be have been more exposed to assaultive behavior in recent years. He cited a previous report in the Bristol Press that covered the growing concern of those in the medical field about the sometimes abusive conditions nurses, doctors and security staff have to deal with.
Alfonzo Sirica, Dougherty’s attorney, did not downplay the seriousness of the allegations. He said his client suffers from two psychiatric disabilities, adding that treatment would be beneficial for her. Sirica said the disabilities are not an excuse for Dougherty’s alleged behavior.
Judge Richard Dyer ultimately granted the program, but not before lecturing Dougherty about the common struggle that emergency responders and hospital staff have with abusive patients.
“It is a serious matter,” Dyer said.
The judge ordered that Dougherty get treatment while she’s in the program and that she not initiate any contact with the complainant, who has since retired from Bristol Hospital, aside from a letter of apology she must write. If she abides by those conditions, the charges will be dropped on July 9, 2019.
“I’m really sorry for what happened,” Dougherty told the judge.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.