BY JULIE MANGANIS
---- — BEVERLY — In nearly a quarter of a century as a nurse, she had taken her share of abuse from patients and their families.
But one patient, Kathleen Hammond, took that abuse to an entirely different level. Hammond became sexually obsessed with the nurse, eventually finding out where she lived and creating a fake Facebook page with the nurse’s name and other personal information she’d somehow obtained.
And she concocted ruses to be taken by ambulance to Beverly Hospital, 93 times in the span of a year, often after first checking to see if the nurse was on duty at the time, a prosecutor said.
Once there, she would demand to see the nurse and yell threats directed toward her if she didn’t get her way.
“I was horrified and scared for myself and my children,” said the nurse, a single mother.
Hammond, 25, of Beverly, pleaded guilty yesterday to stalking, harassing and repeatedly threatening to kill a Beverly Hospital emergency room nurse over a period of several months last fall and winter. She also admitted to making an unrelated false rape allegation against an acquaintance last year.
While prosecutor Lindsay Shaheen sought at least 18 months behind bars for Hammond, with additional suspended time and four years of probation, her attorney, Ilona Volker, argued for time served, the 98 days she’s been in custody after being deemed a danger if released following her arrest in January.
Salem District Court Judge Mary McCabe imposed a sentence that will require Hammond to serve three more months in custody (though she will be parole eligible in 45 days), and three years of probation. If she violates her probation, she will face up to two years in jail.
“I completely understand the victim’s request for more time,” said McCabe, “and I completely understand her feelings. However, I am hoping Ms. Hammond comes out of this healthier and less likely to re-offend.”
McCabe ordered Hammond to receive counseling, submit to random drug tests, and wear a GPS bracelet that will alert authorities if she goes near Beverly Hospital or enters the Lowell-area town where the nurse lives.
Volker stressed to the judge that during her time in custody at MCI Framingham, Hammond has complied with a medication regimen and taken part in counseling, efforts she had resisted prior to her arrest, though she’s been a client of the Department of Mental Health for several years.
Hammond herself admitted that during the period of time that she was stalking, harassing and threatening the nurse, she was not taking a prescribed anti-psychotic drug.
“I go through that stage every now and then when I don’t want to take my meds,” Hammond told the judge.
And that was prosecutor Shaheen’s concern — that the crimes occurred while Hammond was supposedly receiving mental health treatment.
Shaheen said Hammond’s actions endangered not only the nurse and her children but other hospital employees. Hammond would frequently claim, falsely, that she was suicidal or that she had overdosed; as a result of her statements she would be checked for weapons, which she frequently hid in her bra.
She would then demand that the nurse search her, while making sexually inappropriate comments, said Shaheen.
As a result of her behavior, the hospital had developed a safety plan and escorted the nurse to and from her car, Shaheen told the judge.
During one visit, in November, the nurse was busy assisting a doctor treating a patient in cardiac arrest, Shaheen said. Hammond began screaming her name, demanding that she attend to her, and then began threatening to kick out her teeth and kill her.
The following month, she showed up at the emergency room, demanding to see the nurse and then threatened her again, referring to her with an obscenity, Shaheen said.
In January, after she had been banned from the hospital, she arrived by ambulance and immediately made eye contact with the nurse. “I’m going to kill her,” she yelled.
A few days later the nurse was on Facebook and discovered that someone had set up a phony Facebook page in her name, containing information about where she lived and describing her as “head (expletive) at Beverly Hospital.” The only “friend” on the page was Hammond.
Even after the nurse had obtained a restraining order and the hospital had banned her, Hammond managed to visit the facility five times, said Shaheen.
As a result, the nurse told McCabe, she was forced to miss work. Her children, 11 and 15, worried about her. She had to go to court to obtain a civil harassment restraining order.
“I became a nurse to take care of people,” said the woman. “I never expected to go through something like this.”
She said she lives in fear of the day Hammond is released.
Volker argued that in pleading guilty, “she is taking responsibility for her actions,” which, said the lawyer, were the result of extensive mental health issues and a history of trauma. Her time in custody “has been an eye-opening experience,” said Volker.
In the earlier incident, which occurred last September, Hammond was charged with making a false report of a crime after reporting to police that she had been raped by an acquaintance.
Police spoke to the man, as well as a witness, who both told them that Hammond had actually initiated the sexual contact. Questioned again, Hammond confessed to making up the rape allegation because she was concerned that she might have become pregnant and feared her boyfriend’s reaction.
In that case, she received a year of probation.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.