Minnesota lawmakers urged to make neglect a felony

  • Article by: BRAD SCHRADE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 13, 2012 - 11:25 AM

Those who mistreat the elderly or other vulnerable adults often get off with a slap on the wrist, even in cases of death.

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hobie2Jan. 12, 1211:22 PM

You mean to tell me that our previous 150 years of lawmakers forgot to pass a bill that makes it a crime to cause harm to others by negligent action, and we need yet ANOTHER special-situation bill? When was criminal negligence removed form the books? Involuntary manslaughter? Or the recent 4th or 5th degree battery, manslaughter, or the like multi-degreed crimes? No new special persons feel-good crimes touted by politicians looking for higher office - enforce the ones we have now. No way a man actually kills his mother by neglect and gets a $50 fine and probation - that's manslaughter, IF THE poorest County Prosecutor is doing his job.

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forpeopleJan. 13, 12 1:10 AM

Senior citizens are neglected far too often and nursing homes and private caregivers, even in Minnesota, are too frequently deplorable. Anyone who wants to think nursing homes cannot be all that bad should visit a few of them. We definitely need to start holding nursing homes and caregivers accountable.

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bppd46Jan. 13, 12 6:30 AM

This legislation was introduced years ago. Didn't pass because it was authored by Senator and Representative in the minority party and majority party doesn't want good legislation passed unless it is from their party. A lot of good ideas never get acted on because of partisan politics. We need legislators who will act for the good of the people no matter which party puts forth the idea.

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sharblaz1Jan. 13, 12 6:48 AM

Remember previous article wanting these nursing homes to make more decisions about when patients need to be seen for meical care! They can't handle basic food and hygiene needs.

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starboy123Jan. 13, 12 7:18 AM

Its not a new law, its a new penalty. VA are already a special group of people by law. And neglect can't be charged as manslaughter because it is not an assault. Besides, the medical industry will oppose this change and it has as much chance of passing in this current do-nothing leg. session as the stadium.

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owatonnabillJan. 13, 12 8:44 AM

From the January 12, 2012 issue of the APA: "A new bill in the Minnesota Legislature would make neglecting a vulnerable adult a more serious crime. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, and others will have a news conference today to announce the legislation for the 2012 session. Rep. Steve Gottwalt, R-St. Cloud, issued a news release Wednesday afternoon saying he'll sponsor the bill in the House of Representatives. The bill would make it a felony to neglect a vulnerable adult. Freeman's office said that currently even the most severe forms of neglect could only be charged as a gross misdemeanor - and carry no prison time." This bill is being spearheaded by Republicans in both the Senate and the House. Assuming it makes it out of both chambers and onto Governor Dayton's desk it should be interesting to see how it fares there.

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jarlmnJan. 13, 1211:58 AM

The article states that most of these cases occur not in a professional setting, but in family homes, usually between family members. Thus, there are often convoluted familial circumstances that a judge must take into consideration in sentencing. I'm not condoning abuse and neglect by any means. But like most of the feel-good "get-tough" legislation these days, it uses a sledge hammer to do what a tack hammer coulda nicely accomplished. Taking discretion out of the hands of the courts through some kinda zero-tolerance type mandate .. especially in familial situations where there is often a lot of situational baggage, is sometimes actually not in the best interest of the alleged victim. And as we've seen in other areas of family law, it can be ripe for another sort of abuse via vindictive family squabbles.

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thistimeJan. 13, 12 1:09 PM

I think this is a great idea. They should also make it a felony for anyone that takes advantage of an older person. Caregiver or not. In southern Mn I know of an elderly coulple that have borrowed so much money to this so called friend. She has no intetion of paying them back. The local police said there is nothing they can do. They say he is borrowing it on his own free will. But him and his wife eat out of dumpsters because this lady borrows all there money. sad sad sad.

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HenryRhettJan. 13, 12 2:24 PM

I live out of state, but 6 years ago my since-deceased Dad had Alzheimers and was living alone in his western suburban house being "cared for" by my younger sister. She withheld necessary medication (for Alzhemier's and high blood pressure), fed him mostly fast-food, verbally abused him, changed his will, and spent his money. His house was so dirty and disheveled that it was labeled "borderline uninhabitable" by Hennepin County. And my other sister lived 4 miles away and basically just turned a blind eye. When I discovered what was going on I took control and got him out of this "living hell" into a rehab center and later into an assisted living facility with a memory care unit. He improved tremendously and I also got his finances straightened away. The time for this bill is long overdue.

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Thumper5316Jan. 14, 12 6:58 AM

The way adult children treat their aged parents today is unconscionable. But, what can we expect. They can't even be bothered to raise their own children.

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