Healey appeals dismissal of charges in veterans’ home case

December 14, 2021 GMT
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FILE - Flags and wreaths honor veterans on the grounds of the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke, Mass., April 28, 2020, where a number of people died due to COVID-19. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, she's seeking to reverse the dismissal of criminal neglect charges against two former leaders of the veterans' home where nearly 80 veterans died after contracting the coronavirus, in one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in a long-term care facility in the nation. (AP Photo/Rodrique Ngowi, File)
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FILE - Flags and wreaths honor veterans on the grounds of the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke, Mass., April 28, 2020, where a number of people died due to COVID-19. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, she's seeking to reverse the dismissal of criminal neglect charges against two former leaders of the veterans' home where nearly 80 veterans died after contracting the coronavirus, in one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in a long-term care facility in the nation. (AP Photo/Rodrique Ngowi, File)

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said Tuesday she’s seeking to reverse the dismissal of criminal neglect charges against two former leaders of a veterans’ home where nearly 80 veterans died after contracting the coronavirus, in one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in a long-term care facility in the nation.

A Massachusetts judge dismissed the charges in November against former Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Superintendent Bennett Walsh and former Medical Director Dr. David Clinton, saying there was a lack of evidence that their actions led to the deaths.

Healey said she filed a notice of appeal in Hampden County Superior Court, seeking a reversal of the recent dismissal.

“The tragic loss of life at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home broke the promise that our Commonwealth would honor these men who bravely served our country,” Healey said in a statement. “We are filing this notice of appeal today to pursue accountability on behalf of their loved ones and communities.”

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A formal appeal will be entered once the case is transferred to the appeals court.

Clinton’s attorney, John Lawler, said Tuesday that Hampden Superior Court Associate Justice Edward McDonough Jr. rendered a thoughtful, well-reasoned opinion as to why the charges should be dismissed.

“We believe we’ll be successful in fighting the appeal and Dr. Clinton will be vindicated,” Lawler said.

Walsh’s attorney did not immediately respond to an email and voicemail seeking comment.

At least 76 residents of the home died after testing positive for the virus in the spring of 2020.