Lawmaker Seeks to Tighten Elder Abuse Penalties

When we place our elder loved ones into the care of others, we hope that they will be well taken care of in the facility chosen. However, some caregivers are unscrupulous and do not meet the standard of this care. In some cases, criminal charges are filed against the caretakers. One state lawmaker is looking to make some changes to policy when this happens.

Senator Pat Jehlen (D-Somerville), has introduced legislation that he hopes will help in cases of elder abuse where the punishment does not seem to fit the crime. Jehlen has been a Beacon Hill legislator for 25-years.

Jehlen took action after an investigative report by WCVB Channel 5 revealed hundreds of cases of abuse, neglect and misappropriation at the hands of state-licensed caregivers.

In an exclusive video obtained by the news channel, two certified nurse’s aides (CNAs) were shown taunting and physically abusing elderly patients.

CNA Samuel Ayekple is seen on the video humiliating and striking 70-year old William Myerson, who suffers from dementia and is non-verbal. Ayekple’s co-worker, Damaris Diaz, recorded the incident on her cell phone.

The same vehicle also shows Diaz flicking the ears of an elderly woman. Diaz also wiped mucus into the elderly woman’s mouth and mocked her over and over again.

Both CNAs faced criminal charges, but their cases were continued without a finding. This basically means that both Ayekple and Diaz reached deals with the court by admitting they assaulted elderly patients. However, if they are able to complete probation without any problems, no crimes will show on their criminal records. This will allow them to obtain employment as CNAs again.

A check of the state website for Ayekple’s and Diaz’s licenses showed no disciplinary issues or criminal charges against them. This is what Jehlen intends to change.

The legislation proposed by Jehlen would prevent caregivers from working as soon as criminal charges are filed against them. Licenses would be permanently revoked if found guilty or their cases are continued without finding. Jehlen said that he would amend the state licensing website to show not just criminal findings of abuse, but any awards against caregivers in a lawsuit.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of elder abuse or neglect, contact the law offices of Schenk Smith. Our attorneys will work to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today.