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Nursing home aide pleads to abusing residents

MONTEVIDEO -- A former nursing home aide has pleaded guilty to three counts of disorderly conducted directed against vulnerable adults.

Maria Josephine Bjerke, 25, of Montevideo, pleaded guilty to three of the six original abuse counts against her during a court appearance in Montevideo on Monday. The charges are all gross misdemeanors.

District Judge Bruce Christopherson accepted the plea agreement and ordered a pre-sentence investigation.

In the plea, Bjerke admitted wrong doings against three of the six nursing home residents whom she was accused of abusing.

The complaint charged that she abused the residents while she was employed from Oct. 23, 2006 to July 11, 2008 at the Luther Haven Nursing Home in Montevideo. She was terminated when a co-worker reported the abuse.

The guilty plea assures that she will never return to employment as a nursing home aide, according to Chippewa County Attorney Dwayne Knutsen.