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Suspect denies role in nursing home assaults

"Former Port Orchard Care Center employee Honey R. Luce pleaded innocent Monday in Kitsap County District Court to two counts of fourth-degree assault.Brought by the county prosecuting attorney, the charges don't encompass all alleged abuse that occurred at the nursing home. Authorities say the victims of the alleged assaults in which Luce is charged are two women who were employees at the center during Luce's employment there. The 25-year-old Port Orchard resident worked as a certified nursing assistant at the nursing home from fall 1998 to this January. According to authorities, Luce shoved them into doors and walls during that time period. Center manager Dawn Gegenfurtner won't directly confirm whether the alleged victims still work at the nursing home. Gegenfurtner has, however, said Luce was fired in January after the center's own investigation.Luce was arrested on suspicion of taking indecent liberties with 21 victims at the facility, including residents and co-workers. She was also arrested on suspicion of unlawful imprisonment-she allegedly locked at least one victim in a closet-and fourth-degree assault. Luce was released on $11,000 bail shortly after her arrest. Officials at the prosecutor's office said Luce was formally charged with fourth-degree assault because that's all that can be proven right now. Fourth-degree assault is a gross misdemeanor that carries a maximum punishment of one year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.Additional charges could come at a later date for Luce, authorities said. Police are still investigating claims that she assaulted 19 residents at the nursing home."

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