Man Accused Of Kidnapping Friend From Newton Nursing Home

A man who took a friend out of a Newton nursing home — authorities say she was kidnapped -- has been charged with permitting abuse of an elderly or disabled person.

David Collignon, 55, of Middleburg, Florida, was arraigned on Friday in Newton court and has been released on personal recognizance.

He's been ordered to stay away from the woman, Beth Birnbaum, 62.

Collignon's attorney, Michael Chinman, said Birnbaum was receiving "inappropriate and abusive treatment" at the CareOne facility in Newton.

"You're in a place you don't like," Chinman said. "You have a feeding tube you don't need. If you speak to a trusted friend and say, 'Get me out of here!' I think any of us would want that friend to act."

Investigators say Collignon took Birnbaum, who suffers from a brain aneurysm and had a stroke, from her nursing home Tuesday. He was arrested Thursday after bringing her to Massachusetts General Hospital.

Chinman says his client got Birnbaum out of her situation. He says the woman is at MGH, in good health, speaking to doctors and nurses competently, and making it clear she does not want Collignon charged.

Massachusetts General Hospital says it has no information on the woman.

CareOne has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Prosecutors allege there were concerns of financial exploitation. Court documents show Birnbaum has an estate valued at about $2.5 million and that Collignon recently tried to take over power of attorney duties.

But Collignon says he loves her and was only concerned about her care.

His next court date is June 14.

With reporting by WBUR's Fred Thys and The Associated Press


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