Ashley Ann Smith: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Ashley Ann Smith

Allegheny County Ashley Ann Smith

Ashley Ann Smith is a Pennsylvania nurse charged with taking “explicit and private” and sending the images to her then-boyfriend, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Smith, 30, was hit with 30 criminal charges after Allegheny County police said she took photos of 17 elderly patients in various states of undress. Police searching her phone also discovered pornographic photos of a 2-year-old girl.

Smith was charged with invasion of privacy, abuse of care, and child pornography.

Smith is accused of sending the photos to Ron Whitaker, a former co-worker and the father of her child. He has not been charged.

Smith was suspended when the photos were discovered and fired on Wednesday.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Smith Took Photos of Elderly Patients ‘In Need of Immediate Care,’ Police Say

Smith, a 30-year-old resident of Dravosburg and a licensed nurse at Kane McKeesport Community Living Center, was accused of taking “explicit and private” photos of at least 17 elderly patients, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Police say Smith took the photos between May 2017 and August 2018.

The photos depict elderly patients in various states of undress. Some of the images show the patients in “in need of immediate care and private situations.”

“There was a video of a medical procedure performed on one of the victims while the patient was naked,” police said in a criminal complaint, according to KDKA. “None of the photos or video appear to have any medical or lawful useful purpose.”

“The images are explicit and private, and some have the sole purpose to humiliate the patients,” police said in a criminal complaint.

Police said they found derogatory comments linked to some of the photos and video, according to KDKA.

2. Smith Shared The Photos With Her Ex-Boyfriend

Police say Smith sent about 20 photos of 17 elderly patients to Ron Whitaker, a former co-worker and the father of her child. The two lived together until November 2018.

Whittaker, 36, reported Smith to hospital officials on April 5, 2019 and the facility contacted the police.

Whittaker has not been charged with a crime.

An initial search found two photos of a naked elderly woman with an emoji posted over her face, the Tribune-Review reported. Subsequent searches turned up 19 other photos and a video.

Smith was suspended without pay after the report and was fired on Wednesday, when police informed officials that the allegations against Smith were credible.

Smith had worked at the facility since 2015, earning a salary of $38,987.

The facility issued the following statement to WTAE:

“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 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).”

3. Smith & Whittaker Separated After He Allegedly Assaulted Her Last Year

Whittaker reported the images he received from Smith shortly after they separated and waged a custody battle over their daughter.

Court records show that Smith and Whittaker lived together until November 2018.

On October 24, 2018, Whittaker was charged with assaulting Smith. The case is still pending, The New York Post reported.

On November 6, Smith filed for custody of their daughter. On November 7, both parents filed a petition for protection-from-abuse order against each other.

Whittaker wrote in his petition that Smith elbowed him and took his phone, so “I slapped her.” He said he was arrested that night and Smith “has threatened multiple times to kill me and my other daughter,” according to the Tribune-Review.

Smith accused Whittaker of lying in his petition to gain custody of their child and as retaliation for her leaving him. She said he threatened to kill her.

Both were granted temporary protection-from-abuse order.

4. Police Searching for Photos of Elderly Patients Found Child Pornography on Smith’s Phone

After Whittaker notified the facility and the facility notified the police, investigators searched Smith’s phone for the photos and videos she allegedly sent to Whittaker.

During the search, police discovered two pornographic photos of a 2-year-old girl.

Smith was also charged with child pornography.

It is unclear if the girl in the photos is Smith’s daughter.

The caption on the photo, which was sent to Whittaker, said “My view now,” according to the Tribune-Review.

Smith’s attorney told the Post-Gazette “the Constitution affords her the presumption of innocence, and she stands firmly on that.”

5. Family of Smith’s Victim Says Hospital Failed to Notify Them of What Happened

Lori Rushe, whose 90-year-old father has dementia and has lived at the facility since 2015, said she was notified by an employee that her father was allegedly one of Smith’s victims but said the facility did not inform her of the nature of the photos.

Rushe told the Post-Gazette that she was told only that the person had taken unauthorized photos and did not know they were nude photos.

Rushe told the outlet that she spotted a new sign near an elevator that warned against taking unauthorized photos of residents. She said she “wishes the staff would have told her how serious the allegations were,” according to the Post-Gazette.

“I think that’s pretty heinous. That is total elder abuse,” she told the outlet. “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.”

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