Elder abuse continues to be an ongoing problem in the United States. According to the National Council on Aging, it is estimated that “one in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse” with some estimates suggesting that as many as five million elderly in this country suffer some form of abuse each year.
The problem is not a new one in Las Vegas, either. In 2020 alone, LVMPD’s elder abuse unit submitted warrants or made arrests in 58 cases in Las Vegas. A recent case brought the matter close to home again for us.
Several people under the care of the operators of a local group home were found to be victims of neglect, living in squalor, without food and medication. Two of these operators have now been convicted and will serve time in jail for their crimes.
Mary Glenn operated group homes in Las Vegas under the name M.C. House as a domestic nonprofit corporation. Despite being a “charitable” organization, she still collected approximately $30,000 from her various homes, with residents paying between $300 and $600 a month. Many handed over their government benefits.
Ms. Helm, her husband, and another individual were arrested, and subsequently pleaded guilty in June of this year. Glenn and another associate were convicted and sentenced earlier this month.
The state of Nevada and the city of Las Vegas specifically have growing elderly populations. Consequently, charges of abuse happen increasingly.
Nevada NRS 200.5091 governs the abuse, neglect, isolation, or abandonment of older or vulnerable persons. Under this law and the state’s definition, it is unlawful to neglect, abuse, or exploit a person 60 years of age or older. Penalties can carry up to 5 years imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines but can increase if the victim has suffered substantial physical or mental harm.
When caring for an elderly adult, caretakers and family members are often dealing with those who suffer from dementia and other cognitive and physical disabilities. Elderly adults may fall, become confused, or have difficulty discerning reality from their own cognitive imperceptions.
Anyone responsible for an older adult should understand the responsibilities as well as the liabilities of their caretaker role. Any failure to fulfill legal responsibilities and ensure the safety of the person under that care can lead to criminal charges. Even false claims of abuse or neglect can lead to these charges.
Elder abuse charges will often begin with allegations against a family member, caretaker, guardian, or a report of suspected abuse to Adult Protective Services. Although most reports of elder abuse are valid, unfortunately, family members and caretakers can be wrongfully accused in some cases. Fortunately, in order for the prosecution of elder abuse in Nevada to be successful, there must be proof of intentional infliction of pain, injury, mental anguish, or deprivation of necessary items.
If you are facing charges of elderly abuse, a criminal record will affect the rest of your life. Caretakers who are facing false charges of elder abuse and neglect are encouraged to seek legal counsel. There are many defenses available for these types of charges, and an experienced criminal defense lawyer can assist with skilled insight and experience.
If you have been falsely accused of elderly abuse in Nevada, contact the criminal defense team at LV Criminal Defense.