The California State Attorney General estimates more than 200,000 senior citizens are victims of elder abuse in our state each year. While elder abuse can be emotional, financial or physical, a recent case highlights the vulnerability of our senior population.
In November 2012, 28-year old David Moreno was arrested by the Brea Police Department and charged with sexual battery on an institutionalized person and other sexual offenses. As a janitor at Emeritus Senior Living in Yorba Linda, Mr. Moreno gained access to the room of a 69-year old dementia patient last summer
After law enforcement located evidence linking the attack to Mr. Moreno he was arrested, pled not guilty and was released on $100,000 bail. Police are concerned there may be additional victims of Mr. Moreno, though administrators at Emeritus Living believe this was an isolated incident.
Elder abuse of any kind is serious and on the rise. The California Department of Finances estimates the number of Californians 85 and older will double by 2030 and the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development reported one-fifth of California nursing homes did not meet required staffing levels in 2005.
Understanding signs of elder abuse is important for relatives and other loved ones:
- Unexplained bruises, injury or lacerations, signs of restraint, claim of sexual or other assault, evidence of genital battery or infection
- Emotional withdrawal or agitation, poor hygiene, development or presence of pressure sores, report of abandonment
- Unexplained financial withdrawals or change in banking arrangements, sudden asset transfers or disappearance of personal items or valuables
Mr. Moreno is due in court in January. Too often elder abuse is suffered in silence for fear of perpetrators or a faulty memory. If you suspect a loved one is at risk, or being abused, do not hesitate to report concerns and take needed legal steps by contacting an elder abuse attorney to ensure their safety.