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Following indictment, embattled Holyoke Soldiers’ Home head resigns

The embattled head of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home said in a letter released Friday that he will step down, amid efforts to fire him and a week after he was criminally charged for his role in the deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the state-run facility.



Bennett Walsh wearing a suit and tie: Bennett Walsh, former superintendent of the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke, spoke in West Springfield, Mass. in 2019.


© Don Treeger
Bennett Walsh, former superintendent of the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, spoke in West Springfield, Mass. in 2019.

Bennett Walsh, 50, who was the home’s superintendent since 2016, submitted a letter of resignation to the organization as its board of trustees has been holding meetings behind closed doors to consider his termination. The board met Wednesday and was planning another meeting Monday to review his role in an outbreak that killed at least 76 people. Investigators have said that Walsh’s decision to consolidate units in the facility led to “horrific circumstances” that allowed the virus to easily spread.

In his letter, Walsh, who

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2 former Holyoke Soldiers’ Home officials face criminal charges

Two former leaders of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home were indicted on criminal neglect charges in what is believed to be the first US prosecution of nursing home caregivers over their handling of the coronavirus pandemic.



a train traveling down train tracks near a building: The Holyoke Soldiers' Home.


© Patrick Johnson
The Holyoke Soldiers’ Home.

The indictments against former superintendent Bennett Walsh and ex-medical director Dr. David Clinton stemmed from the “horrific circumstances” that claimed the lives of at least 76 veterans who contracted COVID-19 at the state-run facility, said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey Friday in announcing the charges.

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“It’s truly heartbreaking to think about how residents and staff suffered at this facility,” Healey said at a news conference. “From the time we became aware of this, we made it a priority. We owed it to the families who lost loved ones and these veterans who served our country to get to the bottom of what happened.”

The charges are

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76 vets die of Covid at soldiers home

They stormed the beaches at Normandy, liberated Nazi concentration camps and fought the Cold War in Korea and Vietnam only to die in their beds from a virus that infiltrated the veteran’s center in western Massachusetts that was their home.



a group of people in a park


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But on Friday the loved ones of the 76 veterans who, starting in March, died from the coronavirus at the Holyoke Soldiers Home, received a measure of belated justice.

Former Superintendent Bennett Walsh, a Marine, and the home’s ousted medical director, Dr. David Clinton, were each charged with five counts of “wantonly or recklessly” causing or permitting bodily harm and five counts of neglect or mistreatment of an older or disabled person, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy announced.

“My heart goes out to the families that lost loved ones at the Holyoke Soldiers Home,” Healy said. “They risked their lives from Normandy to the

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Criminal charges filed against superintendent, former medical director at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home after deadly Covid-19 outbreak

The superintendent and former medical director of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home face criminal charges in connection with a Covid-19 outbreak at the veteran’s home earlier this year, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said Friday.



a building with a grassy area: An American flag flies at half-mast outside the Holyoke Soldiers' Home on April 29, 2020, in Holyoke, Massachusetts.


© Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images
An American flag flies at half-mast outside the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home on April 29, 2020, in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

The nursing home for veterans in Massachusetts suffered a deadly Covid-19 outbreak in March and April. According to staff and union accounts shared with CNN, the home dealt with systemic issues like short staffing for years.

On Thursday, a grand jury indicted Superintendent Bennett Walsh, 50, and former medical director David Clinton, 71, “for causing or permitting serious bodily injury or neglect of an elder during the Covid-19 outbreak,” Healey said.

They are each facing 10 counts: five counts of criminal neglect and five counts of serious bodily injury.

CNN has reached out

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2 former Holyoke Soldiers’ Home officials face charges in state probe

The former superintendent and medical director of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home are both facing criminal charges in connection with the COVID-19 outbreak at the facility that killed at least 76 veterans, state Attorney General Maura Healey said Friday.



a train traveling down train tracks near a building: The Holyoke Soldiers' Home.


© Patrick Johnson
The Holyoke Soldiers’ Home.

Bennett Walsh, 50, the former superintendent, and Dr. David Clinton, 71, were indicted Thursday on 10 criminal neglect charges each, Healey’s office said. They’ll be arraigned in Hampden Superior Court at a later date. Neither man has been taken into custody.

Speaking at a late-morning news conference, Healey said the case against the two men is believed to be the first prosecution in the country stemming from an outbreak at a nursing home. And, she said, more probes are ongoing in Massachusetts.

“We have active and ongoing investigations into a number of facilities across the state,” she said.

Asked if anyone else would be

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Continue Reading 2 former Holyoke Soldiers’ Home officials face charges in state probe