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Prosecuting Elder Abuse In San Diego

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Video published January 28, 2011 | Download MP4 | View transcript

Above: When authorities arrived, Arnold "Max" Bauer was dehydrated and disoriented, holding a photo of the ship he served on in 1941. He was taken to the VA for medical care.

When authorities arrived, Arnold "Max" Bauer was dehydrated and disoriented, holding a photo of the ship he served on in 1941. He was taken to the VA for medical care. Bauer was interviewed for a "NOVA" documentary about the attack on pearl harbor. The 93-year-old's bank alerted authorities after checks totaling thousands of dollars were written from his account. His live-in caregiver, Milagros Angeles, was arrested on two felony elder abuse charges - involving theft and harm. She pleaded not guilty to the charges. San Diego County handles approximately 9,000 cases of elder and dependent adult abuse each year.

Guest

Paul Greenwood, Deputy District Attorney for San Diego and head of the Elder Abuse Prosecution Unit.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

A PEARL HARBOR SURVIVOR WAS FOUND IN SQUALID CONDITIONS AT HIS HOME. WHEN AUTHORITIES ARRIVED HE WAS DISORIENTED. HE WAS TAKEN TO THE VA FOR MEDICAL CARE. HE WAS INTERVIEWED FOR A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT THE ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR. THE BANK HURTS AUTHORITIES AFTER CHECKS WERE WRITTEN FROM HIS ACCOUNT. HIS CARE GIVER WAS ARRESTED ON ELDERLY ABUSE CHARGES. SHE PLEADED NOT GUILTY TO THE CHARGES. SAN DIEGO COUNTY HANDLES 9,000 CASES OF ADULT ABUSE EACH YEAR. WITH ME TO DISCUSS THE PROBLEM IS PAUL GREENWOOD. YOUR OFFICE HANDLES ABOUT 9,000 CASES EACH YEAR.

THAT WOULD COME INTO ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICES. MANY OF THOSE CASES WOULD BE A CASE OF SELF NEGLECT, WHICH IS NOT A CRIME AND THEY FILT IT DOWN AND REPORT HUNDREDS OF CASES TO LAW ENFORCEMENT AND WE END UP PROSECUTING ABOUT 230 TO 235 FELONY CASES EVERY YEAR.

WHAT IS TYPICAL IS IN WHAT ARE WE LOOKING AT?

PHYSICAL ABUSE, SLAPPING -- TYPICAL SCENARIO, SON LIVES WITH HIS ELDERLY PARENT AND PUNCHES AND HURTS AN ELDERLY PARENT TO EMOTIONAL ABUSE TO FALSE IMPRISONMENT AND FINANCIAL EXPLOITAGES.

IS THERE A TREND? WHO IS THE TYPICAL ABUSER?

YOU CAN'T PINPOINT, BECAUSE THEY CAN RANGE FROM FINANCIAL PLANNERS, REALTORS, NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR, SOMEONE FROM THE CHURCH. CARE GIVERS. ELDERS WITH MONEY ARE TARGETS. ON THE PHYSICAL ABUSE SIDE, TYPICALLY THEY TEND TO BE A FAMILY MEMBER, WHO IS ADDICTED TO DRUGS, ALCOHOL OR GAMBLING AND WHEN THE THEFT IS DISCOVERED BY THE ELDERLY, THERE IS A CONFRONTATION AND THAT'S WHEN THE VIOLENCE BEGINS.

IS THERE A TYPICAL VICTIM, MALE, FEMALE?

MOST OF OUR VICTIMS, 65% ARE FEMALE WIDOWS. AND AGAIN, WHETHER IT'S FEMALE OR MALE, IT'S SOMEONE WHO IS LIVING ALONE WHOSE OWN IMMEDIATE FAMILY AREN'T CLOSE BY. THE PERPETRATORS CAN IDENTIFY THAT TYPE OF VICTIM BECAUSE THEY FEEL THAT THERE IS LESS CHANCE OF BEING REPORTED BY A NEIGHBOR OR A CLOSE FRIEND OR RELATIVE.

IF YOU HAVE A FAMILY MEMBER LIVING FAR AWAY, WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PROTECT THAT PERSON?

YOU NEED TO GET MORE INVOLVED. EVEN THOUGH YOU LIVE FAR AWAY, CONSTANT PHONE CALLS AND IF YOU SUSPECT THE --THAT MAYBE SOMETHING IS DIFFERENT IN THEIR SPEECH, BEHAVIOR, CONTACT SOMEBODY THAT YOU KNOW THAT THE RELATIVE IS ASSOCIATED WITH, MAYBE A GOOD FRIEND, NEIGHBOR, WHO CAN KEEP AN EYE ON THEM AND DON'T HESITATE TO CALL THE LOCAL ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICES HERE. WE HAVE A WONDERFUL AGENCY THAT WILL BE HAPPY TO ASSIST AND EVEN MAKE A HOUSE CALL IF THEY ARE CONCERNED ENOUGH THAT MAYBE ABUSE IS GOING ON.

WHAT IS THE PROCEDURES FOR FOLLOWING UP? IF YOU EXPECT SOMETHING, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? >> HERE IN SAN DIEGO, 1(800), 510-2020. AND THE BEAUTY IS, THEY DON'T HAVE TO REVEAL WHO THEY ARE, THEY CAN REMAIN ANONYMOUS. TYPICALLY A MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC, I HAVE A GUT FEELING THAT A ELDERLY NEIGHBOR IS BEING VICTIMIZED. PICK UP THE PHONE, CALL, GIVE THEM THE NAME, ADDRESS AND THEY WILL TAKE ANYWHERE OF THE -- CARE OF THE REST.

THE PEOPLE WHO ARE CHARGED AND CONVICTED, WHAT PENALTIES DO THEY FACE?

THE UPPER FORM IS FOUR YEARS IN STATE PRISON. OF COURSE, IT DEPENDS ON THE SEVERITY OF THE CRIME, WHETHER THEY HAVE A PRIOR RECORD AND WHETHER THERE ARE OTHER FEATURES THAT GO ALONG WITH THE CRIME.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH, PAUL. THANKS FOR JOINING US.

MY PLEASURE, PEGGY.

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