Spruce Head woman indicted for endangering the welfare of bedridden husband

Posted:  Saturday, January 6, 2018 - 9:30am

ROCKLAND — A Spruce Head woman who was charged by police in August 2017 for allegedly not providing medical care for her bedridden husband, was indicted Jan. 2 by the Knox County grand jury for endangering the welfare of a dependent person, a Class C felony.  

The indictment for Shirley Cline, 67, alleges that “on or about between July 28, 2017 and Aug. 3, 2017, Cline did intentionally or knowingly endanger the health, safety or mental welfare of a dependent person, Ralph Cline, who was unable to perform self-care because of advanced age or physical or mental disease, disorder or defect.”

Ralph Cline was the husband of Shirley Cline who died on Dec. 6.  According to his obituary, he died at Coastal Manor in Yarmouth at the age of 83.

The affidavit filed by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office in court, stated that they responded to the residence in August 2017 after Shirley Cline, the wife and caretaker, was transported to Pen Bay Medical Center, and St. George EMS reported that Ralph Cline was left alone in their home.

Before she was transported to the hospital, Shirley Cline had not made any arrangements for anyone to take care of her husband, who was unable to get out of bed and was unresponsive, according to EMS responders.

Police entered the home through a window since the door had been dead bolted from the inside and found the man covered in feces and needing medical care.

After Shirley Cline was discharged from the hospital, she was uncooperative with the Department of Health and Human Services and police during their investigation regarding the alleged lack of medical care for her husband, according to the affidavit.

Police also received reports that the wife did not feed the man, change his clothing and clean his wounds.

She told police that her husband’s medical needs were being met to the best of her abilities. She also said that the was skeptical of hiring agencies to help because of her past experiences.

Shirley Cline entered a not guilty plea during her arraignment in Knox County Unified Court in August 2007. She is being represented by is Attorney Philip Cohen of Waldoboro.

She will appear in court again on Jan. 25.

Reach Sarah Shepherd at news@penbaypilot.com