Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Neglect and abuse cases

The following are short descriptions of some of the cases involving crimes of neglect and abuse against people with disabilities and the elderly that have been reported in the media since the middle of April. Though by no means an exhaustive list, it does convey the diversity of such cases in terms of the age, location and gender of the abuser and those abused by them.

From the Hesperia Star in San Bernardino County, California (May 12) - Deputies have arrested Ronald Rego, 59, and his wife, Miriam Rego, 45, on a charge of elderly abuse for allegedly keeping Ronald Rego's elderly mother in a woodshed with no electricity, no water and no heat or cooling. A house is being constructed on the property, and the Regos live in a travel trailer on the site, according to the sheriff's department. The 94-year-old woman was reportedly in good condition and is now staying with a neighbour.

From the Associated Press/Philadelphia Inquirer, Scranton, Pennsylvania (May 12) - Kimberly A. Holzein, 26, and Jill L. Hillard, 36, who were employed by the ARC to care for a woman with intellectual disabilities, have been accused of abusing her by tricking her into drinking urine and eating feces in a residential group home in Pennsylvania’s Wyoming County. They have been charged charged with assault, reckless endangerment, neglect of a care dependent person, harassment, disorderly conduct and criminal conspiracy. Both have been released on $20,000 bail, and both have been fired.

From TC in Port St. Lucie, Florida (May 9) - A 42-year-old certified nurse’s assistant, Shawn Thomas, was arrested and charged with elder abuse and misdemeanor obstruction for allegedly leaving an elderly woman inside a car where temperatures reached an estimated 110 degrees while she went shopping. According to the arrest report, the vehicle was not running and the temperature outside was 86 degrees while the interior temperature was an estimated 110 degrees. The elderly woman was reportedly left alone in the vehicle for about 35 minutes.

From the Daily Journal in Bridgeton, New Jersey (May 5) - Tycole J Higinbotham, 21, was indicted last week on charges of second-degree aggravated assault and third-degree official misconduct for allegedly attacking a disabled resident of the Vineland Developmantal Center. According to court records, Higginbotham is charged with strangling the resident until he became unconscious. Higginbotham is free on $50,000 bail and has been suspended without pay pending a legal outcome.

From Newsday in West Babylon, New York (May 4) - A 15-year-old nurse's aide at a West Babylon nursing home was charged witth abusing an 80-year-old disabled female patient by tying her legs together during an eight-hour shift, without supervision or authorization. Candice Pelzer, who was working at the Berkshire Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, was charged with endangering the welfare of a physically disabled or incompetent person and violating the public health law. Pelzer was assigned to care for the patient on the midnight to 8 a.m. shift in November 2008, according to court papers. The patient suffered from Parkinson's disease and respiratory diseases, dementia, and hypertension, and "was incapable of caring for herself because of . . . [the] physical disabilities and mental diseases," according to court papers.

From the Courier Times in Bedminster, New Jersey (May 3) - 45-year-old Donna Hammerstone, a registered nurse from Bedminster, was charged with various felony charges for stealing more than $22,000 from an elderly Doylestown Township man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and then used the cash to pay for a trip to an Atlantic City casino, lingerie, delinquent tax bills and more, authorities said Friday. She faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

From My Valley News in Murrieta, California (April 25) - A 46-year-old man is scheduled to be arraigned today on charges of murder and cruelty to a dependent adult for the alleged slaying of his 81-year-old father, who died as a result of what authorities describe as several blows to the head.

From, Omaha, Nebraska (April 25) - 21-year-old Marcel Lovejoy, who was arrested and charged with attacking and shooting a 55-year-old disabled resident with a pellet in the lobby of North Park Tower after he wouldn't let him in is now also accused of making Terroristic Threats and that is a felony. Another suspect who is responsible for punching the man, has not been found.

From the Ottawa Citizen, (April 25) - Ottawa police have laid additional charges against 48-year-old Ricky Dean Broome now accused of defrauding two seniors, and say there may be more victims. Police said a man offered to help a 75-year-old woman who was his neighbour. After establishing a “relationship of trust” with her, the man allegedly defrauded the woman of several thousands of dollars over a number of years, police said. Broome is charged with theft under $5,000, fraud exceeding $5,000, along with 25 counts of uttering a forged document, unauthorized use of credit card data and criminal breach of trust. He is expected to appear in court on May 25. In September 2008, Broome was charged by police in connection with accusations of fraud against an elderly Ottawa man.

From the Barrie Advance, Barrie, Ontario, Canada (April 13) - Barrie Police officers have charged a 67-year-old woman after her mother was admitted to Royal Victoria Hospital Friday.
ER staff called police after an 88-year-old woman was brought in by ambulance with gangrene in her legs. Police said the patient later died from other health complications, but hospital staff was concerned about the lack of care given to her, and her daughter was investigated for elder abuse. Officers have charged her with failing to provide the necessities of life.