Judge Dismisses Criminal Charges Against Two Former Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Administrators

HOLYOKE — A Hampden Superior Court judge dismissed criminal charges against two administrators of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, where an outbreak of coronavirus led to 76 deaths, reasoning that the actions of administrators did not lead to the infections, the New York Times reported.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey had sought criminal charges of criminal neglect and permitting body injury to an older person against the two administrators — former Superintendent Bennett Walsh and former Medical Director Dr. David Clinton — based on their decision to combine two understaffed dementia units, crowding together infected and uninfected men.

But Judge Edward McDonough Jr. wrote in his dismissal that he believed the five veterans named in the case had been exposed to the virus before the two units were merged, so the administrators could not be held legally responsible.

“There was insufficiently reasonably trustworthy evidence presented to the grand jury that, had these two dementia units not been merged, the medical condition of any of these five veterans would have been materially different,” he wrote.

Healey is weighing whether to appeal the decision, a spokeswoman said.