Who Is Ashley Ann Smith? New Details On The Pennsylvania Nurse Who Took Explicit Photos Of Elderly Patients

Photo: Allegheny County 
Who Is Ashley Ann Smith? New Details On The Pennsylvania Nurse Who Took Explicit Photos Of Elderly Patients

Human beings are living longer than we ever have before. This is both a blessing, and in some cases, a curse. Very often living extra long doesn't always equal living well, and that can leave some senior citizens in a lurch. That's where nursing homes and hospitals for seniors come into play. The provide a safe environment for seniors to grow old and stay happy and healthy. At least, that's how it's supposed to be. Unfortunately, not all senior living facilities are created equal, and even the truly excellent ones can't know what their staff members are up to every minute of every day. One employee, Ashley Ann Smith was recently arrested for what she was doing to residents in a Pennsylvania facility, and that's not even the grimmest part of the story...

Who is Ashley Ann Smith?

1. What She Did 

30-year-old Ashley Ann Smith likely never expected that she would make the national news, but here she is. Smith was recently arrested for taking "explicit and private" photos of at least 17 of the elderly patients that she was responsible for tending. Smith, a Pennsylvania resident, was a licensed nurse at the Kane McKeesport Community living Center for senior citizens. Over the course of a year, Smith is accused of taking countless photos of her patients in the nude. Some of the images reportedly also show the patients “in need of immediate care and private situations.” The police say these images go beyond being risque: “The images are explicit and private, and some have the sole purpose to humiliate the patients." 

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2. Her Boyfriend

So what did she do with the photos? Smith sent at least 20 of the photos of her elderly patients to her daughter's father, who also used to work at the senior living center. Smith's ex-boyfriend, Ron Whitaker, is actually who reported Ashley to the administration at the facility who immediately contacted the authorities. After arresting Smith, the authorities also found images of a nude two-year-old girl on her phone captioned with the phrase "my view right now." The police have not determined whether or not the child featured is, in fact, Whitaker and Smith's daughter. Charges of child pornography were added to her list, though Whittaker wasn't charged. 

3. The Break-Up

Whittaker reported the mother of his child not long after they stopped living together and began a vicious custody battle for their little girl, but their own acrimonious battle began long before those charges were made. Whittaker was actually accused and charged with assaulting Smith and the outcome of that case is still pending. It's clear things were tough between them, to say the least. Smith has been working hard to get custody of their daughter, but Whittaker has contested it. In his own request for custody, he wrote that Smith: “has threatened multiple times to kill me and my other daughter." Both parties were eventually given temporary restraining orders against each other. 

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4. The Nursing Home Speaks Out 

The nursing home took immediate action after learning about the charges against Smith. They suspended her without pay right away. When the charges were verified and she was arrested, they immediately fired her. They also didn’t shy away from speaking to the press, and issued the following statement: “Ashley Smith was a nursing assistant at the Kane McKeesport Center, hired in June of 2015. The administrator there was notified of the allegation on April 5, immediately turned the information over to County Police, indefinitely suspended the employee without pay pending an investigation, and notified licensing authorities. Earlier this week, police detectives advised that the allegations were founded and that charges would be forthcoming. She was terminated that same date (May 1, 2019).”

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5. Families Speak Out 

The elderly home itself has been criticized by family members of its residents for how they handled the aftermath of this terrible situation. One woman, Lori Rushe, has a 90-year-old father in the home who was a victim of Smith's, and she said the home did not let her know just how bad the photos really were. “I think that’s pretty heinous. That is total elder abuse,” she said. “I could see that he could be easily manipulated. You’re taking advantage of people who don’t know their name, where they’re at or anything. That is so disturbing.” Whether or not she's removing her father from their care is yet to be determined. 

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. She's an experienced generalist with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, pop culture, and true crime. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr