AUGUSTA — A Riverview Psychiatric Center patient pleaded guilty and was fined $300 Tuesday for a series of assaults that occurred in 2014 at the hospital.

Arlene M. Edson, 32, entered her guilty pleas to four assault charges through her attorney, Amber Tucker. Edson did not appear in court.

Tucker had filed a request with the judge to enter the pleas by waiver, noting that the assistant district attorney prosecuting the case did not object.

Tucker wrote, “If the defendant were required to be transported to the June 14, 2016, court appearance, it would cause disruption to her schedule at Riverview Psychiatric Center and, upon information and belief, cause unnecessary instability for the defendant.”

Edson is suing the hospital, the commissioner of the state Department of Health and Human Services and people who were employed at the hospital in December 2013 when she was pepper-sprayed while naked and left without treatment for hours.

The lawsuit, pending in federal court, charges use of excessive force, unreasonable bodily restraint, failure to intervene and failure to train, among other counts, including violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. She is seeking compensation for her injuries and damages.


The 92-bed psychiatric hospital, which replaced the Augusta Mental Health Institute, has had a series of problems over the past years, including a number of assaults by patients on nurses and mental health workers. Many of the patients were prosecuted criminally and are now serving time in prison.

Corrections officers who were brought in to work at Riverview in response to a brutal assault by a patient on a mental health worker in March 2013 were replaced later with acuity specialists to monitor patient behavior.

On Tuesday, Edson pleaded guilty to the four assaults that occurred Nov. 27-Dec. 11, 2014, against victims who included police officers and a maintenance worker.

She previously had been found guilty of assaulting another worker at the hospital on Dec. 11, 2014, and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Edson was committed to the custody of the commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services in 2011 and placed at Riverview after being found not criminally responsible for arson and assault because of mental illness.