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Attorney General Spitzer today announced that two nurse’s aides at a Buffalo nursing home have been convicted of physically abusing an 89-year-old female patient.

"We have a special responsibility to protect our defenseless and infirm citizens from abuse and exploitation," Spitzer said. "These convictions send a clear message to all who would abuse our most vulnerable that prosecution will be swift and encompass the full measure of the law."

Following a non-jury trial in Buffalo City Court, Fatima Walker, 29, of 1255 East Ferry Street in Buffalo, was convicted yesterday of Wilful Violation of Health Laws. Judge Andrew C. LoTempio, who presided at the trial, set sentencing for April 18. Walker faces up to one year in prison.

On March 9, Judge LoTempio also found Walker’s co-defendant, Kimberly Williams, 29, of 418 Curtis Street in Buffalo, guilty of Wilful Violation of Health Laws. Williams was immediately sentenced to a conditional discharge and ordered to surrender her nurse’s aide certificate.

According to a sworn affidavit by an eyewitness, Walker and Williams, while employed at the Grace Manor Health Care Facility on May 22, 1999, waited for the elderly patient to enter her room, and then wrapped a towel around her head and repeatedly hit her in the face and arms.

Grace Manor Health Care Facility is located at 10 Symphony Circle in Buffalo.

The cases were prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Gary A. Baldauf, of the Buffalo Regional Office of Attorney General Spitzer’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. All cases are handled under the direct supervision of Deputy Attorney General José Maldonado.