Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty, through the courts.

January 30, 2012

Surprise Inspections for Retirement Homes Just a First Step (CANADA)

 Jan 27 2012

Stories of understaffed retirement homes with unsanitary and downright unsafe conditions are legion in Ontario. No doubt every senior on the receiving end of appalling and abusive treatment has wondered how this could be allowed to go on and desperately hoped that somebody, anybody, would come to help them.
Queen’s Park was finally moved into action by the pleas of seniors — not to mention horrific stories of abuse on the front pages of this newspaper — and has started regulating Ontario’s privately operated retirement homes. On Friday, the province announced that retirement homes will face a surprise inspection at least once every three years, with high-risk homes being visited more often. This is the latest move to help police this growing industry and ensure good and dignified care for 40,000 retirement home residents.

The combination of the latest draft regulations and those already put in place require suspected elder abuse to be reported immediately and, once reported, investigated right away. It’s all intended to create a policy of “zero tolerance of abuse and neglect.”

Such a policy should have been obvious. It’s scary that regulations need to spell out that abuse of seniors isn’t okay. But the Star’s Dale Brazao, who lived undercover in one of Toronto’s worst retirement homes, proved that such a policy is not only required, it must be vigorously enforced.
That’s why there are lingering concerns about the government’s decision to farm out licensing, inspections and enforcement of safety and care standards to an industry-run body. Seniors Minister Linda Jeffrey will have to be vigilant to ensure that this much-needed oversight system works as well as promised and be prepared to bring it in-house if it does not.

But even if this system works well, seniors don’t just need better-run retirement homes. Many are far too frail and ill to be there. They need the full-time nursing care provided in government-subsidized long-term care homes. Trouble is, there are 20,000 people on waiting lists for a bed in one of these homes.
The government has done good work so far to improve retirement homes. But it must take additional steps to get seniors who need more medical care into a long-term care bed. Regulating a retirement home does not magically turn it into a long-term care home. The province can’t afford to forget that.

SOURCE:    The Star

Click for Updates, More Cases and Resources
Search LABELS for More Resources

Police Investigate Abuse of 100-Year-Old Woman (

Police investigate abuse of 100-year-old Rock Hill woman
By Jamie Self
 Jan. 27, 2012

Rock Hill Police are investigating a case of elder abuse against a 100-year-old woman by her niece, according to an incident report.
Police were called to Wells Fargo bank at 1709 Heckle Blvd. in Rock Hill Thursday after the bank manager said customers reported seeing an elderly woman being pushed out of a vehicle.
The bank manager went outside and found the 100-year-old woman standing in the parking lot. The manager said the woman and her 85-year-old niece, who is her caretaker, frequent the bank to make withdrawals, and that the niece yells and pushes her every time the two enter the bank.
The woman said she's been assaulted by her niece several times and that her niece pulls her hair, twists her nose and pushes her, which has made her fall, the report said.
The niece did not deny grabbing her aunt's nose and said she makes her angry. She told police that they withdraw money for gambling. Police noticed a large amount of money in the niece's purse.
An arrest is pending further investigation.

SOURCE:     The Herald Online 

Click for Updates, More Cases and Resources
Search LABELS for More Resources

January 27, 2012

Florida Senate Bills Crack Down on Assisted Living Elder Abuse

By Alyssa Gerace
January 26, 2012

Assisted living laws in Florida could go from one side of the spectrum to the other in the wake of the Miami Herald’s series on elder abuse that occurred in many state facilities, with little or no ramifications.
Now, Florida lawmakers are looking to shift the state’s caretaker oversight from negligent to possibly the toughest in the nation, according to a Miami Herald article, recently passing committee bills 7176 and 7174.
The proposal includes comprehensive legislation that seeks to improve oversight such as mandatory penalties in fatal neglect cases and a public ratings system derived from a facility’s regulatory history, the article reports.
Additionally, the regulatory reform bills take some power away from Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, which in the course of the investigation has faced scrutiny for failure to shut down or adequately penalize troubled facilities.
The full Miami Herald article lists several proposals from Rich’s Elder Affairs Committee and the state Senate’s Health Regulation Committee.

SOURCE:    The Senior Housing News

Click for Updates, More Cases and Resources
Search LABELS for More Resources

Ontario Elder Abuse Hotline in Jeopardy

By Carol Goar
Editorial Board, The Star

They’ve tried to raise money. But when people hear their cause, they turn away. Elder abuse is not an appealing topic.
They’ve approached a succession of cabinet ministers. (Ontario has gone through four seniors’ ministers in the past three years.) Each has been more noncommittal than the last.
They’ve begged the Ontario Trillium Foundation to renew their three-year grant. But it doesn’t provide extensions or renewals.
Now, with 33 days left to come up with $75,000, the Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse is staring at the prospect of closing its Senior Safety Line.
It handles 13,000 calls a year from frightened seniors, distraught family members, worried friends and concerned caregivers. It operates round-the-clock in 150 languages. Each operator is trained to understand the needs of vulnerable seniors and offer practical, confidential advice. It is now running at 100 per cent capacity.
But no one is willing to pay for it.
Teri Kay, executive director of the Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, which created the help line, admits she and her colleagues didn’t plan for this eventuality. “We naively thought another funder would step forward,” she said.
The seniors’ protection network, like many other voluntary groups, assumed that once it proved the hotline was viable and needed, the provincial government would take over.
“Three years ago, that was reasonable,” Kay said. “In the current (fiscal) situation, it’s very hard to establish new programs.”
She is still scrambling to secure long-term funding. Several potential partners have expressed interest. But even if one of them steps in, the money won’t come through until at least mid-year.
That’s why the network is appealing to the public for help.
“This vital hotline simply cannot be shut down,” it says. “The immediate need is $75,000 which will sustain it for another six months.”
So far the organization has raised just $5,000.
It tried asking families and community groups to host tea parties to get word out and bring in donations. But the majority of Ontarians still don’t want to acknowledge or hear about elder abuse.
It tried lobbying MPPs. But as the province’s budgetary woes deepened, they resorted to expressions of moral support.
It tried to get media attention. But there’s nothing new or clear-cut about elder abuse. There are no reliable statistics on the prevalence of the problem. According to people who work in the field, between 4 and 10 per cent of seniors are physically, emotionally, sexually or financially abused or deprived of life’s necessities, but these are just estimates. Nor are there any simple remedies. Many seniors are afraid to speak up. Many Ontarians believe a family’s privacy is sacrosanct. (To their credit, several of my Star colleagues have written powerful stories about abused and neglected seniors.)
What the network can say with assurance is that the Senior Safety Line has made a difference.
Victims of elder abuse are seeking help. They may not be willing to go to the police, but they do want to tell their stories, ask for advice and find out what services are available in the community.
More cases of elder abuse are being reported. Seniors may be reluctant to identify the perpetrator, especially when it is a member of the family, but those who are in serious danger can sometimes be persuaded to talk to a police officer.
Politicians are beginning to respond. The federal government committed $567,000 last fall to developing tools to detect and measure elder abuse. The province claims to have launched the country’s first strategy to combat elder abuse in 2009. A handful of backbenchers have introduced private member’s bills to expose and prevent the victimization of older people.
These initiatives are useful, Kay says, but it is essential to preserve existing services.
“We’d go from month to month if we had to,” she said, emphasizing that any donation, no matter how small, would be welcome.
She shouldn’t have to beg. Abused seniors shouldn’t have to depend on the mercy of strangers.
(More information is available at  http://www.onpea.org/)

SOURCE:    The Star

Click for Updates, More Cases and Resources
Search LABELS for More Resources

January 24, 2012

Youth Speaking Up - Toronto Police PSA Campaign (CANADA)

Youth Speaking Up - Toronto Police PSA Campaign

YouTube video:

'Youth Speaking Up' is an anti-violence awareness and advocacy campaign, created by the students and staff members of the Toronto Police Service's Youth in Policing Initiative, and developed by the Toronto Police Service Community Mobilization Unit.

The campaign is designed to challenge and empower students to create discussion, activity, and dialogue with their peers around the topics of Child Abuse, Relationship Violence, and Elder Abuse. The goal of the campaign is to encourage youth to speak up about issues of violence and abuse, and to reduce incidents and patterns of violence through awareness, education, and discussion.

For more information regarding the 'Youth Speaking Up' campaign, please contact: Staff Sergeant Joanne Rudnick, Toronto Police Service Community Mobilization Unit -- Family Violence Section, at joanne.rudnick@torontopolice.on.ca, or (416) 808-7281
• Toronto Police Service Community Mobilization Unit
http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/communitymobilization/elderabu se.php

New Law Toughens Penalties for Senior Fraud (IL. USA)

New law toughens penalties for senior fraud
JAN 19, 2012

A new Illinois law that takes effect this month imposes harsher penalties on people who defraud seniors, and makes it easier to go after low-level fraud.

The law allows prosecutors to go after scammers who steal smaller amounts of money than before, beginning with frauds for as little as $5,000.

The intention behind the legislation was twofold, “to increase penalties based on the lower threshold and, especially with all the attention, to serve as a deterrent,” said Ryan Gruenenfelder, associate state director of Advocacy and Outreach at AARP Illinois.

Each year nationwide, victims lose more than $2.6 billion to financial exploitation, according to AARP.

Scams against seniors sometimes come from an outside source through the mail or Internet. Yet, more common are scams committed by family members or caregivers, said Robert Blancato, national coordinator of the Elder Justice Coalition in Washington, D.C.

The law reflects Illinois’ recent effort to take senior financial exploitation more seriously, Gruenenfelder said.

“Illinois has been taking steps in the right direction to recognize elder abuse and give tools to officials, law enforcement, and state’s attorneys to go after those who commit it,” he said.

Professionals in Illinois who work with elders must report abuse if they see it. Nonetheless, elder abuse often goes unreported, Gruenenfelder said. According to estimates from the Illinois Department on Aging, only one in 13 cases of elder abuse are reported, he said.

If a senior is defrauded by a family member, he or she may not report it to avoid getting their family in trouble, Blancato said. Similarly, the senior is often a dependent of the perpetrator. In those cases, “there is a fear factor that keeps them from reporting,” he said.

Also a senior may not know where to report these crimes. Finally, underfunded agencies have too many cases to work, “that leads to stuff falling through the crack,” Blancato said.

Illinois does have institutions to deter elder financial exploitation, such as the TRIAD Program, a statewide organization of law enforcement officials, sheriffs and senior advocates that works to prevent and educate citizens about these crimes. However, more can be done, Gruenenfelder said.

“A public awareness campaign to educate people on how to avoid being victimized” and education of society as a whole of the seriousness of these crimes are necessary to eliminate these crimes, Blancato said.

Law enforcement also needs to be educated on the problem, Gruenenfelder said.

“I believe that police officers certainly could use more education and training to help recognize elder abuse and know that when someone comes to them that it is a criminal matter,” he said.

“We have to get past the notion that we should treat elder abuse like something other than a crime,” Blancato said.

SOURCE:     MedIll Reports, Chicago

Click for Updates, More Cases and Resources
Search LABELS for More Resources

Figures Expose Shocking Level of Elderly Abuse Across Wales

Figures expose shocking level of elderly abuse across Wales
by Helen Turner, WalesOnline

The scale of abuse against elderly people across Wales has been revealed in figures showing more than 1,000 complaints against carers have been upheld in the last three years.
Despite the number of proven allegations of financial, physical and emotional abuse, only a small percentage of the carers involved have lost their jobs.

In several Welsh councils, fewer than 10% of upheld complaints led to the carers involved losing their jobs. Neglect was the most frequent complaint made by vulnerable adult service users across Wales – with 240 incidents reported to Cardiff council alone since 2008-09.
There were also allegations of sexual abuse at three Welsh councils, Wrexham, Rhondda Cynon Taf and the Vale of Glamorgan.

At Denbighshire council, one carer was reported for shouting at a service user, while another was overheard to have said: “Now you’re fed and watered, I’m off.”
The British Association of Social Workers said it was likely that the true level of abuse was far worse as most incidents are never reported.
Spokeswoman Ruth Cartwright called for more comprehensive regulation of care workers. She said: “Society puts a greater focus on children than of vulnerable adults, but both deserve protection from abuse and exploitation.
“Adults who have been abused or mistreated are often least likely to be able to speak out, so it is likely that there are many incidents of unreported abuse.
“Let us not forget that vulnerable adults are also sometimes mistreated by members of their own family, who are perceived to be caring for them.”
She said that domiciliary care workers were currently not required to register with the Welsh Care Council and called on the Welsh Government to address this.
She said: “We want to see regulation of those who work directly with people in need of care and support in their own homes, where there is much scope to abuse the trust that is placed in them.”
Ms Cartwright also called for a register of complaints that would ensure rigorous sanctions were taken against offenders.
She said: “We are concerned that so few complaints, where upheld, have resulted in dismissal. The majority of workers are honest and thoroughly dedicated people who do a hard job with little pay or recognition.
“However, some people are just not suitable for this type of work, and we hope that employers are committed to weeding out these few people who take advantage.
“There needs to be rigorous selection procedures for these staff, and they must receive proper training about the often complex needs of the vulnerable people they are supporting.”
Next: Radical changes to protect elderly "on way"
A Welsh Government spokesman told WalesOnline that radical changes to the way vulnerable people, including the elderly, were protected were being developed under the forthcoming Social Services Bill.
He said: “Under the forthcoming Social Services Bill a new statutory framework to protect adults at risk will be introduced, which will encompass duties to investigate, co-operate and share information in protecting adults and to establish a National Independent Safeguarding Board.
“These arrangements will be underpinned by the establishment of statutory Adult Protection Boards, and a reduction in the number of Safeguarding Children Boards in Wales to strengthen co-operation and collaboration between relevant local agencies.”
The largest number of complaints were against carers in Cardiff, with 328 complaints proven or admitted and 25 carers losing their jobs.
The cases included 20 complaints of financial abuse, 15 of physical abuse, 240 of neglect. and 26 of motional and psychological abuse.
In Newport, 11 complaints were upheld out of 29 resulting in two carers losing their jobs.
There were several councils where no carers lost their jobs, including Merthyr Tydfil, which had 11 upheld complaints, Monmouthshire, which had four, and Pembrokeshire which had three.
Neath Port Talbot council upheld only seven of 896 complaints made against staff.
Other councils were more willing to discipline carers. The Vale of Glamorgan dismissed 10 carers and prosecuted five out of 45 upheld complaints. Some 31 carers were also given extra supervision and 24 were given extra training.
The complaints in the Vale included physical abuse, 37, sexual abuse, four, emotional abuse, 20, financial abuse, 21, and neglect, 17.
In Bridgend 29 carers lost their jobs, out of 164 upheld complaints, while in Carmarthenshire five lost their jobs from 15 upheld complaints.
A Newport council spokeswoman said: “Newport council takes any complaint against a carer extremely seriously. All complaints are thoroughly investigated.
“Safeguarding vulnerable people is of the highest priority when determining what action will be taken if a complaint is upheld.”
According to a complaints officer at Cardiff council, any allegation of serious misconduct, such as neglect, abuse, medication errors, that could potentially harm a vulnerable adult may result in a referral to the Protection of Vulnerable Adults team to investigate.

SOURCE:      WalesOnline

Click for Updates, More Cases and Resources
Search LABELS for More Resources

January 18, 2012

The Carer Who was Sacked for Caring (UK)

Rashid Razaq
17 Jan 2012 

A carer who lost her job and her home for allegedly breaking protocol by helping an elderly woman in distress was today seeking a lawyer to appeal.
Sue Angold, 51, was sacked after coming to the aid of a distraught pensioner who was soaked in urine and unable to get up to clean herself.
Responding to an alarm at a sheltered housing block, she lifted the woman on to a commode and helped her wash and change.
But Ms Angold's bosses said she had broken safety rules by not waiting for trained staff to arrive with a hoist.
Ms Angold claims she was victimised for being a whistleblower. She was sacked from her post as area manager for Sutton Housing Partnership and evicted from her home at the Seven Acres housing development, which came with the job.
She had lived there for 20 years with daughters Natalie, 23, and Sophie, 21. Ms Angold said: "The woman was crying and in an awful state. In the care profession you can't just say it's not part of my job. I did the right thing but as a result I've lost my job and my home.
"This wasn't an isolated incident. The management knew that, but were out to get me because I was a whistleblower and had raised concerns about poor leadership and how residents' needs weren't being met."
The former nurse, who had more than 30 years' experience as a carer, oversaw 10 staff responsible for 300 vulnerable residents. The incident took place in May 2010 and she took Sutton Housing Partnership, set up by Sutton council, to an employment tribunal claiming unfair dismissal, but lost last May.
Ms Angold said: "I made the mistake of thinking I could represent myself without a lawyer and get a fair hearing. It was so blatantly unfair."
She is now seeking a lawyer who can represent her on legal aid and appeal against the tribunal's decision. She said she had been unable to get a new job because of the stain on her reputation and had suffered depression and suicidal thoughts. She also wants an inquiry into the management of SHP. More than 2,400 people have signed an online petition supporting her.
An SHP spokeswoman said: "We are committed to the safeguarding and protection of our elderly and vulnerable residents. We have clear policies, procedures and regular training. In this case there was a serious breach of these procedures. Our decision was upheld by an independent judge at an employment tribunal."

SOURCE:     This is London
Are we still on planet earth? This case is mind-boggling! Imagine the chaos, if we have to check with our lawyers/advocates etc before we help someone. No wonder there are so many who would not get involved. It is safer to look the other way, it seems.

.....  Andrew


Click for Updates, More Cases and Resources
Search LABELS for More Resources

January 16, 2012

Missoula Woman Found Guilty of Stealing $120K from Elderly Mother with Dementia (USA)

Missoula woman found guilty of stealing $120K from elderly mother with dementia
January 14, 2012

Prosecutors say they won't seek prison time for a Missoula woman convicted Friday afternoon of bilking her elderly and dementia-laden mother out of more than $120,000.
Paulette Homer was found guilty Friday by District Judge Karen Townsend of using the proceeds from a reverse mortgage of her mother's home to pay off credit card debts, buy jewelry, stable her horses, pay medical bills, take out cash withdrawals in the thousands of dollars and otherwise raid her mother's account.
Townsend oversaw the bench trial over the past week.
The case pitted Homer against her three siblings, all of whom believed their sister had abused their mother's trust and taken advantage of her condition to fund the relief of Homer's debt and her purchases, which also included furniture and other items for a new condominium.
In opening and closing arguments, prosecutors Jennifer Clark and Cory Laird told the judge that elder abuse is rampant in the U.S., and that Homer's actions are yet another example of it.
"Every time we look the other way and we allow this to occur, we give these criminals a pass," said Laird in his closing argument on Friday.
Homer's court-appointed attorney, Lisa Kauffman, did not offer a closing statement and did not put her client on the stand.
Kauffman argued that Homer's three siblings were merely incensed that they did not get any of their mother's money, and told the judge in opening arguments that "the state should be ashamed" for bringing charges against her client. She argued that Homer's mother was aware of what she was doing and that it constituted a "gift" to her daughter.
Townsend's verdict disagreed, and she set Homer's sentencing for March 6. Homer remains free pending sentencing for the crime, which carries a potential sentence of 10 years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine.
Homer's elderly mother was suffering from increasing dementia - Alzheimer's in particular - when Homer arranged a reverse mortgage on her home in the spring of 2008, prosecutors argued. She had no mental capacity to appreciate or understand what she was doing, witnesses testified during the trial.
Meanwhile, Homer - who was having trouble selling her Florence home after her own husband died of dementia - purchased a condominium in Missoula. After her Florence home sold, Homer used none of those proceeds or the refinancing of her new condo to return any money to her mother's account.
A Missoula police investigation showed that Homer got a check for $141,308 from the reverse mortgage in 2008, and then over the next several months wrote checks totaling $120,593. Those checks ranged from $300 to a hair salon to a total of $9,000 to Homer's two daughters and $5,000 to Homer herself for cash, the investigation showed.
She also wrote a $31,421 check to Montana First Credit Union. Homer also made several online payments, totaling $20,544, to financial institutions, as well as to Zales Jewelers and Lowe's.

SOURCE:     The Missoulian

Click for Updates, More Cases and Resources
Search LABELS for More Resources

Woman Pleads Guilty to Embezzling Woodlander of more than $200K (USA)

Woman pleads guilty to embezzling Woodlander of more than $200K
By Democrat Staff

A Calistoga woman pleaded guilty Friday to embezzling a Woodland woman for more than $200,000.
Denise Ann Conophy, 51, pleaded guilty to embezzlement, elder abuse and tax evasion, according to a news release from District Attorney Jeff Reisig. She admitted she took in excess of $200,000.
Conophy also agreed to the forfeiture of more than $300,000 in cash and property the District Attorney's Office previously seized during the course of the investigation, which is to pay restitution to the victim. The 80-year-old woman moved to Woodland during the seven-year time period the crimes were committed, said Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Cabral, who prosecuted the case.
The woman hired Conophy to handle her bookkeeping and other financial affairs relating to a bed and breakfast she operated in St. Helena, Reisig said. Over the course of her seven-year employment, Conophy transferred the victim's assets to various accounts and used them to pay her personal bills as well as to start up an Internet business she was operating.
The victim's family members discovered the crimes when the woman was hospitalized for an extended period of time and her family saw that her assets had been depleted. During the course of the investigation, the State of California Franchise Tax Board discovered the defendant failed to file a state income tax return during an eight-year period and did not report the stolen funds as income.
"Due to the efforts of the Woodland
Police Department, the California Franchise Tax Board and the District Attorney's Life and Annuity Fraud Investigative Unit, we have recovered over $300,000 in direct victim restitution for an elderly victim of our community," Reisig said. "It is a significant accomplishment when we can recover and return a lifetime worth of savings to an elderly victim in our community."
Judge Janet Gaard will sentence Conophy Thursday, March 8. She will be sentenced to a term of 16 months in state prison, Cabral said.

SOURCE:     The Daily Democrat


Click for Updates, More Cases and Resources
Search LABELS for More Resources

2010 Law Aims to Thwart Elder Financial Abuse (USA)

Money & the Law: 2010 law aims to thwart elder financial abuse
January 14, 2012 JIM FLYNN

It’s well recognized that financial abuse of the elderly is a serious and growing problem. Deceit, threats and intimidation are all tools of the trade when manipulating an elderly person into transferring funds or property to someone else.
In 2010, the Colorado Legislature took a small step in the direction of addressing this problem. Senate Bill 10-042, which has now gone into effect, requires financial institutions — meaning banks, savings and loans and credit unions — to offer customers who are “at-risk” adults the opportunity to sign an information release consent form.
This form, when signed, will allow a financial institution to turn over account records to law enforcement and social services agencies when the financial institution suspects its customer is a victim of financial abuse.
Before the passage of Senate Bill 10-042, financial institutions could, if they wanted to, offer this service. Now, however, they must offer the service to all customers they know to be at-risk adults.
Distressing as this is to some of us, the Colorado Legislature considers anyone 60 or older to be an at-risk adult. Adults can be at risk at an earlier age if they suffer certain impairments.
A major premise behind this law is that financial institutions are in a good position to detect elder financial abuse. In that regard, a fundamental principle of banking has historically been: Know your customer. And, going back a few years, financial institutions did know their customers, and were keenly observant of changes in a customer’s faculties, circumstances and finances. Whether this is still true in an age of more computers and fewer employees is open to debate. 
In all events, however, financial institutions are prohibited from disclosing customer information to third parties absent a customer’s consent. So, what Senate Bill 10-042 has tried to do is open the door for more people to give release of information consent. Once a consent form is signed, it remains in effect until revoked.
Under instruction from the Colorado agencies that regulate financial institutions, these institutions are now sending out consent forms to existing customers they know to be at-risk adults. After this initial mailing, they must go through a similar notification process annually. Financial institutions must also offer customers who meet the definition of an at-risk adult an opportunity to sign a consent form at the time a new account is opened.
Signing the consent form is voluntary but, from my perspective at least, there is no good reason not to do so.
Senate Bill 10-042 does not obligate a financial institution to be on the lookout for adult financial abuse or even to report it if it is suspected, notwithstanding the existence of a consent form in its files. Although there are legal theories that make it risky for financial institutions to take a head-in-the sand approach to the problem of elder financial abuse, the major burden for detecting and reporting such abuse remains with friends and family. 
Unfortunately, friends and family are often the source of the abuse.

SOURCE:     The Gazette

Click for Updates, More Cases and Resources
Search LABELS for More Resources

January 12, 2012

Mother, Son Take Plea Deal in Gruesome Case of Elder Abuse (USA)

Mother, son take plea deal in gruesome case of elder abuse
January 11, 2012
George Stahl /Special to the Sun

On Wednesday, Jan. 4, in a Kern County Superior Court appearance, co-defendants Joseph McCoy, and his mother, Darlene Green, entered no contest pleas in the case of elder abuse leading to the death of 90-year-old Margaret Gray on April 1. Gray was Green’s mother and McCoy’s grandmother. McCoy had been Gray’s IHSS primary caregiver since he turned 18 in 1999.

At Wednesday’s hearing, McCoy and Green stood with their court-appointed attorneys at their sides as Judge Michael Bush read the plea bargain agreement. McCoy and Green then entered their pleas. 
In exchange for the no contest plea, the defendants waived their rights to a jury trial. Sentencing is set for Feb. 2 in Kern County Superior Court.

McCoy, 30, of Lake Isabella, faces a maximum of five years in prison for his plea to one count of elder abuse and his admission of causing harm or death to an elderly person, which renders the count a strike offense (See Sidebar on page A3).

Green, 54, of Weldon, faces a maximum of one year in local custody and felony probation for her plea to one count of elder abuse as a co-defendant in the case. The charge of causing harm or death to an elderly person against Green was dismissed.

At sentencing, Bush will review the pre-sentencing report, prepared by the Kern County Probation Department, and enter the final sentence.

Also on Feb. 2 , McCoy will be sentenced on the charge of spousal abuse against his ex-girlfriend, Doreena McCartney, of Lake Isabella, the mother of his child.

Earlier last year, on April 22, McCoy pled no contest to the spousal abuse charge. Sentencing was postponed until the outcome of the present case.

At a preliminary hearing in Bakersfield on July 20, Green was visibly shaken – by her arrest and having to appear in court that day.

In the proceedings that lasted the better part of the day, the gruesome details of the condition that Gray was found in were brought to light.

Sitting next to his attorney, McCoy listened to the parade of witnesses retell what they observed at his grandmother’s Reeder Street house, and his eyes welled with tears.

Nathaniel St. Clair, CARE Ambulance paramedic, testified that when he entered Gray’s bedroom on Feb. 11, he was “knocked back” by the smell of feces combined with decaying flesh. He said that he found Gray in the bed, her skin stuck to the sheets and even interwoven with the fabric of her clothes. There were numerous bed sores and ulcers on her body. St. Clair stated that the flies were so thick in the room that he had to “bat them away as he was trying to assist Miss Gray.”

On that afternoon, Kern Valley Hospital’s then-Emergency room Director, Dr. Manuel Sacapano, testified, “In 11 years, this is the worst case of elder abuse I have ever seen.” He testified the ulcer on Gray’s back was a Grade 4, which meant that it has to take some time to rot the skin through, down to her spine.

According to Sacapano, upon Gray’s arrival at the hospital, she was treated for her condition the best way possible and made ready for her transfer to San Joaquin Community in Bakersfield. “She was going to need an entire team of doctors to help her,” Sacapano said. “Her overall condition was very, very poor.” In addition to the bed sores and ulcers, Gray was suffering from severe malnutrition and dehydration, Sacapano said.

After further treatment at San Joaquin, Gray was placed in the care of Dr. Anthony Milanes of the Bakersfield Family Medical Center. Milanes is the overseer at the elderly care unit of the facility known as Lifehouse. Milanes said that Gray arrived at Lifehouse towards the end of February, where she was treated with antibiotics for the ulcers and sepsis that had developed throughout her body. She was there until her death on April 1, 2011. Milanes testified that the sepsis, a severe illness in which the bloodstream is overwhelmed by bacteria and is commonly known as blood poisoning, was caused by the formation of the ulcers and had happened over time. Milanes said that these were a result of Gray’s deteriorating condition.

According to the testimony given by Senior Sheriff’s Deputy, Marco Vazquez, when he arrived at the house on Reeder St. he was met by Gray’s daughter, Barbara Mendez of Baldwin Park. Mendez told Vazquez that she was there to visit her mother for Gray’s 90th birthday. When she arrived, Wendy Reyes, the women Mendez had hired to come over and get Gray ready to celebrate her birthday, told her that things were not right with Gray. Mendez was disturbed by what she saw and called 911. Vazquez arrived at the house at 9:46 p.m. to investigate a report of elder abuse. According to the Deputy, when he came to the house, CARE Ambulance and the fire department were already on scene. Vazquez testified that Melody Batelaan from Aging and Adult Services was also present. According to Vazquez. Mendez told him that she had last seen her mother on Dec. 23, 2010 and that at that time she didn’t see anything odd or out of the ordinary.

SOURCE:      The Kern Valley Sun

Click for Updates, More Cases and Resources
Search LABELS for More Resources

New Law Gets Tough on Elder Abuse (IL. USA)

January 11, 2012
BY Mary Anne Meyers
Illinois News Connection

Some of the most vulnerable Illinoisans will be better protected starting this month from those who would take advantage of them financially.
Those who steal Social Security checks or defraud Illinois elders and people with disabilities have a better chance of being locked up under a new state law. That measure, House Bill 1689, increases penalties for such financial exploitation, in many cases making the crime a serious felony, depending on how much money is involved.
Ryan Gruenenfelder, associate state director for advocacy and outreach with AARP Illinois, said most of these cases involve family members or caregivers.
“That’s why the Illinois Department on Aging and other elder abuse experts say that only about one in 13 cases of these crimes actually does get reported.”
Nationally, financial exploitation costs elders nearly $2.5 billion every year, and yet, Gruenenfelder said, many times it is treated as a civil case rather than criminal.
“That’s been the biggest frustration for us with regards to elder abuse, specifically. It hasn’t received the attention and the sympathy, I guess, that child abuse and domestic violence has.”
Gruenenfelder said he understands why elders would be hesitant to report family members for financial abuse, but he said law enforcement and advocates need to help them understand that they don’t deserve to be exploited.
“This is criminal. Just because someone has control of your money, say in a power-of-attorney situation, it doesn’t mean that that person isn’t taking advantage of that person  and stealing their money,” he said.
Taking money or property, cashing checks without permission, or denying services to save on funds can all be considered financial abuse, and can now land a person in jail in Illinois

SOURCE:        My Journal Courier

Click for Updates, More Cases and Resources
Search LABELS for More Resources

As USA Grays, Elder Abuse Risk and Need for Shelters Grow

As USA grays, elder abuse risk and need for shelters grow
They're weak, physically or mentally disabled or both, and often at the mercy of people they depend on the most: relatives and caretakers.
By Bruce A Crippen, for USA TODAY
January 10, 2012

They're the nation's fast-growing elderly population, and many are prime targets for abuse — physical, financial, sexual or emotional.
Concern among the elderly and their advocates is mounting as the number of seniors soars and more of them live longer.
The Cedar Village Retirement Community in the Cincinnati suburb of Mason this month opened a long-term care facility to victims of abuse. It is the first elder abuse shelter in Ohio and one of only a half-dozen in the country, all of them funded by non-profit groups.
"There is a genuine recognition by those who are concerned by the abuse of elders that there need to be appropriate safe houses for them to get them out of immediate harm's way," says Sally Hurme, AARP's senior project manager in education and outreach. "Nationally, we've been aware of the need for elder abuse shelters, but they've been slow in coming into fruition."
The first in the nation, the Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale in the Bronx in New York City opened just seven years ago and serves as a model for the few others.
Advocates for the old are pushing for more and launching campaigns to educate communities about elder abuse and how to prevent it.
The number of people who live to age 90 and beyond has tripled in the past three decades to 2 million and is projected to quadruple by 2050, according to the Census Bureau. The number of 65-plus grew 15.1% since 2000 to 40.3 million or 13% of the total population.
'Recipe for disaster'
As their numbers grow, the dismal economy has forced many to live with children and grandchildren, a situation that may tempt the unscrupulous to take advantage of the old in their care.
"Amazing things are occurring simultaneously," says Laura Mosqueda, co-director of the National Center on Elder Abuse and director of the geriatrics program at the University of California-Irvine School of Medicine. "The fastest-growing segment are people over 85 and the percentage of people with Alzheimer's, dementia is at an all-time high. … This is just an absolute recipe for disaster."
Ohio's Shalom Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at Cedar Village will care for abused seniors in four counties and provide medical, nursing and therapy services, meals, legal services, social work, pastoral care and social, recreational and educational programs.
"We estimate that as many as one in 10 (seniors) at some point are victims of elder abuse," says Carol Silver Elliott, CEO and president of the retirement community. "A victim of elder abuse can be anyone. They can be rich or poor. They can be independent. They can live in a facility."

Signing their assets away
She cites cases of seniors who fall ill and unknowingly sign over their assets to people who care for them, becoming victims of the most common form of elder abuse: financial.
"A few months later they find out they don't have a house, their bank account is cleaned out," Elliott says. "They have essentially nothing."
Others suffer physical abuse that can range from not being fed or cleaned to being beaten.

Former child actor and entertainment great Mickey Rooney, now 91, put a national spotlight on the problem when he testified before Congress last March that he had been financially abused by a family member. Earlier last year, Rooney had obtained a restraining order from a judge in Los Angeles against his stepson, Chris Aber, and filed suit in September. He has accused Aber of withholding food and medicine. Aber denied the allegations.
The problem is tough to spot and often goes unreported because the victims are abused by those who care for them. "Very frequently, what the perpetrator tries to do is to cut the individual off … so they do not have access to sources of information," Hurme says.
Kathy Greenlee, assistant secretary of the Administration on Aging in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, testified last August before a Senate panel that reports of elder abuse to states are on the rise. The National Academy of Sciencesestimates that only one in 14 cases comes to the attention of authorities. The Elder Justice Act passed in 2010 but has received zero funding while states cut budgets.
"Programs have had to cope with limited staffing to carry out even the most basic program functions of receiving and investigating reports of abuse," Greenlee testified.
Mosqueda, who runs the government-funded National Center on Elder Abuse, says she hopes to increase public awareness of the problem "until everybody in this country understands everybody can be a victim, everybody can be an abuser."

Click for Updates, More Cases and Resources
Search LABELS for More Resources


Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty.

Search This Blog