Group home owner pleads guilty to neglect of elderly

Residents said group home conditions were deplorable

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Atakelte Admasu
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Atakelte Admasu

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The owner of a Northside group home arrested in 2014 and charged with false imprisonment and negligence of disabled adults has pleaded guilty.

Atakelte Admasu was sentenced to 10 days in jail.

The Agnes Street Group Home had been home to 10 physically and mentally handicapped residents between the ages of 46 and 62. Those residents were found locked inside.

After the arrest in 2014, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said the rooming house at 1346 Agnes St. was previously licensed as a group home, but that the business license fee hadn't been paid since 2011.

Residents in the area said people would walk up and down the street looking for food, waiting for food and going through the garbage looking for food because they weren't getting it at the group homes.

Residents said those in the group home were wearing the same clothes all week long.

When firefighters and police arrived at the home, they found padlocked gates, food cabinets locked and deplorable conditions. Admasu said he locked doors and gates for the safety of residents. But the Department of Children and Families and the Agency for Health Care Administration did not see it that way.

The facility was licensed by the Agency for Health Care Administration. Group homes are inspected every two years.