Friday, June 12, 2009

HB 2442

This is a press release from out of Salem this morning. Only the test of time will show if it worked or not.


June 12, 2009

House Votes to Protect Vulnerable Oregonians from Abuse

HB 2442 would make sweeping changes to adult protective services in Oregon

SALEM – Oregonians with developmental disabilities will have substantial new protections from abuse, under a bill passed by the Oregon House of Representatives today. HB 2442, sponsored by Rep. Sara Gelser (D-Corvallis) and Rep. Carolyn Tomei (D-Milwaukee), makes sweeping changes to adult protective services in Oregon. Passage of the bill was a top priority for House Democrats this session.

“Crimes against people with disabilities are everyone’s business,” said Gelser. “This bill is an important first step towards protecting the safety of our most vulnerable neighbors. Everyone deserves to be safe in their own home, and people with developmental disabilities should be no exception.”

In 2007, the Oregonian began profiling the significant problem of abuse and neglect of adults with developmental disabilities in state paid care. They reported that one in five adults with developmental disabilities had been victims of significant abuse in the previous seven years, many of them on multiple occasions. These abuses included sexual assault, physical assault and financial exploitation. Although these allegations of abuse were substantiated and frequently rose to the level of a crime, only about 15% of these cases were investigated by the public safety system.

“Many of our vulnerable who live in care facilities never receive a visitor, making them especially susceptible to abuse, fraud or other crimes,” said Tomei. “This bill goes a long way to making sure vulnerable Oregonians are protected.”

The bill will standardize abuse investigations, increase collaboration between the Department of Human Services and local law enforcement agencies, and allow for immediate notification of all residents of a facility when a substantiated abuse has occurred. The bill will also preclude individuals with felony convictions and crimes against vulnerable people from being hired as direct care providers. For the first time in decades, fines and civil penalties for substantiated abuse will be increased and redirected into a fund to improve training of care providers.

“Today, a fine for egregious abuse can be as low as $50—less than the penalty for harming an animal or parking illegally. That is outrageous,” said Gelser. “This bill establishes a minimum civil penalty of $2500 for cases of substantiated abuse that involve rape, sexual assault, serious physical injury or result in the death of the victim.”

The bill was the result of a large interim working group that included self advocates, providers, law enforcement, the Department of Justice, the Department of Human Services, defense attorneys and others.

“Today is an important day for vulnerable Oregonians. By passing this bill, we affirm that we value the safety and dignity of every Oregonian, and that we will hold those who abuse adults with disabilities accountable in the civil and criminal justice system,” said Gelser. “As a result, vulnerable adults will be safer in their homes and their communities.”

House Democrats have made protecting seniors and our most vulnerable citizens from financial scams, fraud and sexual abuse by improved investigative processes, better court access and tougher penalties a top priority this session. HB 2442 is a cornerstone of that effort and is part of the House Democrats’ 2009 Roadmap for Oregon’s Future.

HB 2442 now moves to the Senate.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

House Bill 2442 does not address Financial Exploitation of the elderly citizen, who is harmed and financially exploited by a family member, supported by the system at large, "which "MAY" make a report, instead of being mandated to make a report) *section 10, ORS 124.065 (2) without being in an institution or having a developmental disability.....

I am 83 years old and was forced to fight for my rights to my assets under a civil determination, because I was not physically harmed or abused - worth the cost of an investigation...The District Attorney found Breach of Fiduciary out of statute on February 10, 2006, by the time it was too late to investigate a criminal matters, ( ORS 164.057, ORS 163.205 and 163.095). It has endured for the last 10 years, even after I was reported to be neglected, after I suffered a stroke and no resource for medical equipment and home maintenance care, because my assets were forcefully taken from me without ANY authority. Adult Protective Services, Dept of Health and Human Services, County and State, - and certainly not the Sheriff, who knows little of the law - refused to intervnene, consequently I remain a victim without resources in Oregon.

The Dept of Justice under Atty General Myers, decided, I was not in the class of the "indigent" and could fight my own battles civilly. I was driven to the brink of bankruptcy, lost my inheritance and my home is in Reverse Mortgage (without having payments for equity, all went to dubious attorneys, which took my retainer fee and then did nothing. I have been fighting at the appeals level since 2004, when the court cided with the perpetrator, assuming I had made a contract, because my own records were "lost" in the lower court and confirmed, which did not change an erroneouis judicial error to have deprived my of my assets under Color of Law.( the Reverse Mortgage shields me from becoming homeless, while the State pays for my property taxes).

I expected more from a revision of the Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation act. ORS 124.005 through ORS 124.1124.

I am at the legislative disposal, if detaled information is needed. I have ten years of elder abuse and financial expolitation - without protection under existing statues - because there is always an excuse, why it is considered a civil matter, when it is indeed a crime, or an elderly person does not fit the profile.


Erna E. N. Boldt
Sandy, Oregon

Member of NASGA (Nat'l Assoc. to Stop Guardianship Abuse)

See also: