NEW BRIGHTON, Pa. (WTRF) — A Pennsylvania man who was employed as a healthcare worker for severely disabled patients was sentenced to 14 to 17 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to hate crimes, according to our affiliate KDKA.
According to KDKA, Zachary Dinell pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, ten counts of violating federal hate crimes law and one count of concealing material facts in a healthcare matter, prosecutors said Thursday.
Prosecutors said Dinell and another direct care healthcare worker at McGuire Memorial in New Brighton, Tyler Smith, were indicted earlier this year. Dinell said during his plea hearing that he and Smith assaulted patients and even recorded some of the abuse of Dinell’s phone.
Dinell said he and Smith punched, kicked and jumped on patients and sprayed liquid irritants in their eyes and mouths, according to KDKA.
Prosecutors say the two texted each other about their dislike of the patients. Dinell said he and Smith were able to continue their abuse since the patients were non-verbal and physically disabled and unable to tell anyone about the assaults.
Smith’s case remains pending, say reports.