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Published: Saturday, 3/29/2014 - Updated: 4 months ago

4 YEARS IN PRISON

Former nurse’s aide must finish sentence

Release after serving 11 months denied

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Declaring she was incapable of acknowledging fault or expressing remorse, a Lucas County judge sent back to prison Friday a former nurse’s aide who used patients’ confidential information to arrange break-ins at their homes.

Raychel Berman, 35, of Woodville cried as she was led from the courtroom after Common Pleas Judge Gene Zmuda denied her request for judicial release. She had served just 11 months of a four-year prison sentence and now must complete that term.

The judge said that while he considered granting Berman early release because this was her first offense, he took issue with what she told the probation department in a March 13 interview. Berman said she had been “in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Mr. Zmuda said she still saw herself as the victim in the case, which to him was an egregious crime.

“You were having an affair with another gentleman who’s a piece of trash,” the judge said. “He manipulates you, and you allow yourself to be used by him to identify individuals that you’re caring for in a nursing home so that those homes can be robbed. You not only assist him in identifying the homes of the patients you care for, but you actually drive the car and are found at the home that is being burglarized.”

Berman, who apologized for her actions in court Friday, had denied her involvement and pleaded no contest last March to two counts of burglary.

Marla Osgood, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, objected to her early release in an affidavit in which she wrote that Berman “enjoyed a position of trust as a [state-tested nursing assistant] and exploited same for her own personal financial gain. The exploitation of these victims — ill and of advanced age — is deplorable.”

Jackie Elavsky of Akron, a daughter of one of the victims, sent a letter to the court saying her father was preparing to return home from the rehabilitation center where Berman worked when his house was broken into July 2, 2012 by Berman’s co-defendant, Dion Farrell, 45, who was sentenced to five years in prison for his role. Instead, her father died nine days later.

“A caregiver is entrusted to provide essential care to people who are unable to do for themselves,” Ms. Elavsky wrote. “What she arranged with the other criminal is so grievous, words can’t explain.”

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.



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