Spring 2020 Issue
Sometimes being an attorney means standing up for and supporting someone who has experienced an unspeakable tragedy. That was the case for our law firm recently, as we helped a rape survivor start to pick up the pieces of their life and help them move toward healing.
Kenneth Bowen, who was a former Clayton County Police Department recruit, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he raped seven women and assaulted several others. He was arrested in August 2019 and his trial is expected to begin sometime this April in Clayton County, GA.
While words can’t describe how much my heart breaks for everyone who has been hurt by this alleged serial rapist, it was truly an honor to provide help to someone in the wake of such a heinous attack. We take pride in being a voice for others and serving as a powerful advocate to people when it matters most. That’s why we’re so dedicated to helping survivors involved in cases just like this and others.
Allegations of Elder Abuse, Neglect at Senior Care Facility in Georgia
It seems like every day we hear about new allegations of nursing home abuse and neglect, but it doesn’t make it any easier to read the disturbing details of what’s happening to our senior population at some of these care facilities.
In January, I read an article about a woman named Ashley Jones who was searching for answers after she discovered her 81-year-old father was “literally skin and bones” when she went to visit him in his room at Blue Ridge Healthcare of Buchanan.
Lynval Stephenson, a Vietnam veteran who suffered from Lewy body dementia, was not only emaciated but covered in bed sores, skin rips, and resting in bloody bedsheets. The facility, which said it was investigating the abuse and neglect allegations, also had no documentation of the restorative care Mr. Stephenson was supposed to be receiving for his debilitating condition.
As a former U.S. Army Reservist, reading about the treatment (or lack thereof) some of our older wartime veterans receive at nursing homes and assisted living facilities fills my heart with sadness and outrage. I’ve also witnessed these atrocities with my own two eyes while advocating for other victims of nursing home abuse and neglect.
While it’s always upsetting to read stories like this, it does add fuel to my fire and make me want to work even harder to deliver justice to people like Ashley Jones and her father.
Understanding the 7 Types of Elder Abuse
One of the best ways to spot the warning signs of abuse is to have a clear understanding of the 7 major types of elder abuse. Some forms of elder abuse aren’t as noticeable or as easy to recognize as others, but they can still have devastating consequences.
The 7 major types of elder abuse are:
- Physical Abuse – Involves deliberate use of force that causes a senior to suffer physical harm or death. Along with visible injuries, watch for changes in demeanor, no explanation for how the injuries occurred, anxiety, and anti-social behavior.
- Sexual Abuse – Encompasses any unwanted sexual interactions or sexual contact with a senior, including those with disabilities such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Warning signs include bleeding and bruising on or around the genitals, problems sitting or walking, anxiety, and bloody, torn, or stained underwear.
- Emotional / Psychological Abuse – Covers intentional actions that cause a senior to be fearful, distressed, or suffer from mental anguish. Emotional abuse covers everything from name-calling and humiliation to intimidation and threats. Some red flags to watch for include depression, lack of eye contact, isolation, and changes in behavior.
- Neglect – The most common type of elder abuse is neglect, which involves disregard for the well-being of a senior and failure to protect them from harm. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities that don’t protect elders from danger, provide adequate food and hydration, appropriate medical care, clean clothing, and sanitary conditions are being neglectful.
- Abandonment – Elder abandonment cases involve a past caregiver leaving a senior at a care facility or with relatives without making formal plans first.
- Financial Abuse – Financial abuse occurs any time a senior’s financial resources are used illegally, improperly or without appropriate authorization. Watch for missing property/valuables, confusion over finances, unexplained ATM withdrawals, canceled checks, and unpaid bills.
- Self-neglect – When a senior can’t meet their own basic needs but refuses to get help, it is considered elder self-neglect. Poor nutrition, lack of hygiene, failure to maintain their home, not taking care of their own finances, and not being able to properly dress themselves are all signs of self-neglect.
No one ever wants to see a loved one become the victim of elder abuse, but unfortunately, it is a sad reality for many. If you suspect someone you love is the victim of elder abuse, contact our law firm today for a free and confidential consultation.
Sobering Statistics – What the Numbers Say About Negligent Security
Negligent security cases fall under the category of premises liability and involve violent crimes or attacks, such as assault and battery, robbery, sexual assault, rape, shootings, stabbings, and murder on someone else’s property.
According to data from NeighborhoodScout, Atlanta’s annual violent crime rate (per 1,000 residents) is 7.99 – which is more than double the national median of 3.27. The violent crime rate in Atlanta breaks down like this:
- Murder – 0.18
- Rape – 0.57
- Robbery – 2.30
- Assault – 4.94
Compared to the national average:
- Murder – 0.05
- Rape – 0.43
- Robbery – 0.86
- Assault – 2.47
Criminals are opportunistic, which is why it’s so critical for landlords, businesses and property owners to take reasonable measures to protect tenants and visitors from violent crimes and attacks. Unfortunately, far too many property owners cut corners and cause others to suffer serious harm.
Whether you’re at a hotel, in a parking lot, out shopping, getting gas, at an ATM or in your own apartment complex, you shouldn’t have to worry about becoming the victim of a violent crime. If you or a loved one need help with a case involving negligent security, contact our law firm today to protect your rights and go over your legal options.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The information in this newsletter does not constitute legal advice or a solicitation of clients, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and The Law Offices of George S. Johnson. This newsletter is intended to provide general information and may be considered attorney advertising in your jurisdiction. Professional legal counsel should be sought for specific advice relevant to your circumstances. Please do not respond to this email with any confidential information.