District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert joins the global call to action for individuals, organizations and communities to raise awareness about elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.
The World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) began in 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations. The goal is to increase understanding of the cultural, social, economic and demographic factors that affect elder abuse and neglect. This day also acknowledges elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue.
The District Attorney’s Office has taken the lead in many areas related to elder abuse, including creating the first Elder Death Review Team (EDRT) in the nation in 1999. EDRT is a multi-disciplinary team with members from local law enforcement, social services, the coroner and community based organizations. Their purpose is to conduct in-depth reviews of elder and dependent adult abuse and neglect cases that resulted in death. They identify systemic needs, develop strategies, policies and procedures to improve communication between the organizations, and work toward preventing elder abuse and neglect. EDRT produces a biennial report of their findings for the Board of Supervisors. The 2015 EDRT report concluded more can be done to bring attention to elder abuse and to encourage community involvement in preventing this abuse and neglect. If you have knowledge of a suspicious elder death or suspect current abuse, please report it to Sacramento County Adult Protective Services (helpline is 916.874.9377).
The DA’s Elder Abuse Unit aggressively prosecutes physical and mental abuse, neglect and other crimes committed against elder and dependent adults. Recent cases include Michael Diaz, who was sentenced to 17 years for physically assaulting his paralyzed mother and disabled brother. Thomas Newcomb and Angel Huerta were sentenced to 8 years and 5 years respectively, for attacking and robbing two elderly men. Elon Green was sentenced to 7 years for elder abuse against his disabled father, residential burglary and criminal threats. Alvaro Olivas was sentenced to 3 years for assaulting his father’s elderly neighbor. Jose Paz was sentenced to 3 years for attacking his dependent adult mother, and former mixed martial arts fighter Allen Mollring was sentenced to 2 years, 8 months for criminal threats against his elderly mother.
District Attorney victim advocates provide support and education to elders and dependent adults who have been victims of crime, including assistance with obtaining emergency protective orders.
Both victim advocates and the DA elder abuse prosecutor are available to make presentations through the office’s Speakers Bureau program.
“Abuse, neglect and exploitation can happen to anyone, of any age, across all demographics, in any community around the world,” states DA Schubert. “I will continue to shine light on these often hidden crimes and work with all of our community partners to protect elders and all of our most vulnerable citizens.”
Recent Cases (Summaries):
Michael Diaz - On July 28, 2014, Diaz attacked his partially paralyzed stroke-survivor mother. He threw her out of her wheelchair onto the ground, pulled her hair and smashed her head on the ground. Diaz’s disabled adult brother attempted to come to their mother’s rescue. Diaz then assaulted his brother with a deadly weapon. Diaz was sentenced to 17 years in prison for elder abuse and assault with a deadly weapon.
Angel Huerta & Thomas Newcomb - Huerta and Newcomb knocked on the door of an elderly man and convinced him to open the door. They shoved the victim, who was unable to stand without his walker, to the ground. The assailants then rushed through the house stealing items. His wife attempted to come to his aid, but had trouble crossing the room with her walker. The assailants left the residence with jewelry and other items. The following morning, an elderly man was loading his car to return home after visiting family. The same two assailants rushed him. Newcomb punched the victim, ultimately fracturing a vertebra. The men stole items from the car and drove away as the victim’s wife ran to her husband, who was on the ground. Newcomb was sentenced to 8 years prison for two robberies and great bodily injury. Huerta was sentenced to 5 years in prison for two robberies.
Elon Green Jr. - Green arrived unannounced at his estranged parents’ home. He screamed threats at his stepmother, who then rushed into her house and locked the door. Green’s father required an electronic wheel chair for his mobility. His father attempted to protect his wife and stop Green from entering the house. Green rushed past him and began to break into the house while screaming threats to kill his step-mother. Green twisted his father’s arm and attempted to disable his wheelchair. He eventually left the scene when he knew law enforcement was on the way. Green was sentenced to 7 years in prison for criminal threats, residential burglary, and misdemeanor elder abuse.
Alvaro Olivas Jr. - The 71-year-old victim was a neighbor of Olivas’ father. Olivas believed the victim insulted his father. Olivas knocked on the victim’s door then punched the victim in the face, causing him injuries. As the victim tried to flee, Olivas vandalized the victim’s vehicle. Olivas was sentenced to 3 years in prison for elder abuse.
Jose Paz - Paz’s mother is a dependent adult. Paz accused his mother of interfering in his relationship with his girlfriend. Paz hit her, knocking her out of her wheelchair, then continued the attack and refused to let her get up. Eventually, Paz left when others came to the victim’s rescue. Paz was sentenced to 3 years in prison for dependent adult abuse.
Allen Mollring - Mollring, an ex-MMA fighter, lived with his mother (age 73) until he became verbally and physically abusive. His mother obtained a restraining order to keep him away from her residence. Ultimately, she felt sorry for him and permitted him back into the house. Once back at the house, he grabbed her, punched her in the nose, twisted her arm and threatened to kill her. Mollring was sentenced to 2 years 8 months for criminal threats.
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