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Ex-Ozanam worker attacks seniors: DA

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Joseph Rotolo, 32, of 11 Belmart Court in Hicksville, entered Ozanam Hall of Queens Nursing Home at 42-41 201st St., a large, multi-story long-term care home in Bayside, to obtain narcotics for his own personal use around 8:30 p.m. Friday, the DA said.Rotolo went to five rooms, asking residents if they were using fentanyl, a potent painkiller, according to the police. He removed medication patches from the upper chest areas of the two female victims, and injected himself with the contents of one of the patches, the DA said.Rotolo allegedly gained access to Ozanam Hall by using his ID card from his previous term of employment at the nursing home, where he worked until his resignation in September, Brown said. He had been employed by Vital Care Infusions, an independent contracting health care firm, and held onto his ID card, the DA said. Other employees became suspicious of his activities and called the police, who arrested Rotolo at the scene, according to Brown."According to the charges, the defendant unlawfully entered the facility where he had previously worked as a registered nurse and removed medication patches from two elderly female residents, endangering their lives," Brown said in a press release. "Fortunately, nursing staff members became suspicious and called police, who apprehended the defendant inside the facility, averting possible harm to other residents. The victims were promptly treated and have fully recovered."Ozanam Hall officials said the home's internal security first detained Rotolo before calling the police."All appropriate action was taken to put the individual in the hands of the police," said Magdalene Smolen, assistant administrator at Ozanam Hall. "No resident or staff member was jeopardized."Rotolo has been charged with burglary, reckless endangerment, criminal impersonation, grand larceny, criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal possession of stolen property, and criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.Reach reporter Sophia Chang by e-mail at news@timesledger.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

Updated 10:25 am, October 12, 2011
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