St. Paul City Attorney s Office

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1 St. Paul City Attorney s Office Elder Abuse Prosecution Unit Why a special prosecution unit for elder abuse? Vertical prosecution Need for specialization/training Multi-disciplinary team participation (Ramsey County Adult Protection team) Need for public outreach Types of cases handled by the Elder Abuse Prosecution Unit Any crime involving an elderly (70+) victim and/or a victim who meets the definition of vulnerable adult as used in Minn. Stat , Subd. 11 Review cases for charging once they are investigated by the SPPD 1

2 Typical Crimes Charged by CAO Elder Abuse Unit Criminal Abuse Assault V (by caregiver) Criminal Neglect Financial Exploitation Disorderly Conduct Mistreatment of Residents or Patients Domestic Assault Assault V Violation of Order for Protection/HRO Harassment/Stalking Theft Criminal Damage to Property to name a few! Criminal Abuse (Minn. Stat ) A caregiver who, with intent to produce physical or mental pain or injury, subjects a VA to any aversive or deprivation procedure, unreasonable confinement, or involuntary seclusion. Can be a Felony or Gross Misdemeanor, depending on level of harm caused. - substantial or great bodily harm = Felony - any other physical injury = Gross Misdemeanor Criminal Abuse (cont ) Caregiver, staff person, or any person providing services in a facility who engages in sex act with resident/patient. Includes sexual contact/penetration that is NOT covered in Criminal Sexual Conduct I-IV Allows sexual contact if VA consents (with capacity) and prior consensual relationship 2

3 Criminal Neglect (Minn. Stat ) Suspect = Caregiver or Operator (facility) Victim = VA Intentional neglect or Knowingly permits conditions to exist that result in neglect or abuse of the victim. Neglect means Failure to provide: Food Clothing Shelter Health care Supervision (any 1 or combination of these can be Neglect) Neglect = Gross Misdemeanor Regardless of level of harm caused! 3

4 Assault V (Minn. Stat ) A Caregiver who, with intent: - Causes fear in a VA of immediate bodily harm - Inflicts or attempts to inflict bodily harm Gross Misdemeanor Current legislative proposal to delete Caregiver element. Mistreatment of Residents/Patients (Minn. Stat ) Suspect is in charge of or employed by a hospital or nursing home. intentionally abuses, ill-treats, or culpably neglects patient Resulting in physical harm ( detriment ) Always a Gross Misdemeanor, regardless of level of harm caused. Disorderly Conduct by a Caregiver (Minn. Stat ) Suspect = Caregiver; Victim = VA Engages in brawling or fighting; or Engages in offensive, obscene, boisterous, or noisy conduct Using language tending to reasonable arouse alarm, anger, or resentment GROSS MISDEMEANOR 4

5 Adult Protective Services Can Be Crucial to Criminal Case APS sometimes first to scene Trained in working with older victims Have access to database of licensed services Can assist in finding resources for victim and Defendant Can provide records and reports that are not readily available to prosecutor APS can petition for court order authorizing protective services for: - Vulnerable adult who is being abused, neglected or exploited - Those lacking capacity to consent. Case Example Victim, 76 year old stroke victim w/ dementia - living in nursing home Perpetrator, 52 year old daughter - Had Power of Attorney - Had cared for mom for years - Other siblings out of state 5

6 Perpetrator charged initially with Disorderly Conduct. Warrant issued. Perpetrator leaves. Good son takes over as POA Victim is able to stay in the nursing home, health steadily improves Perpetrator charged/convicted of Theft by Swindle Even mild abuse, neglect, or exploitation increase premature deaths in the elderly by 300%. -- Mark Lachs, MD Tara Patet, Senior Prosecutor, St. Paul City Attorney s Office Ph.: (651) Please feel free to contact me with further questions, comments! 6

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