Today is World Elder Abuse Day – How Does Louisiana Law Protect Our Seniors?
LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL News) - June 15th is World Elder Abuse Day. It's a day to help shine a light on seniors suffering in silence.
While communities across America and the world recognize the significance of the day, how does Louisiana law protect our seniors?
"Our senior citizens should not live a life of abuse," says St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz, whose office has an Elderly Abuse Section that's "run by highly trained deputies that are responsible for the protection of adults over the age of 60. The section concentrates on acts or omissions which result in physical, emotional abuse, and neglect inflicted by caregivers and from self-neglect by the individual themselves. Louisiana law also protects seniors from acts of financial exploitation and extortion."
We all are familiar with what defines physical abuse and sexual exploitation. Neglect, in relation to the elderly, includes withholding medication, medical care, food, personal care, utilities, daily necessities, and overmedication.
Sheriff Guidroz reminds you that calls or reports of abuse can be made to the Governor’s Office of Elderly and Adult Protection at 1-800-898-4910 or the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office at 337-948-6516.
Arnaudville, Louisiana Caregiver Arrested After Elderly Victim Found Laying in Pain, Tests Positive For Fentanyl
Here is a case of alleged abuse that makes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day a necessity.
In April, an abuse complaint was made to the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office. A family member of the victim went to visit the victim at his home and found him lying in a cradled position under a comforter on top of a bare mattress. The victim's abdominal and groin area was very red and raw, and the victim would scream when touched. While at a local hospital, the victim tested positive for Fentanyl. The victim was hospitalized from April 15 - May 9 and then released to a nursing home.
The St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office Elderly Affair Division began investigating the victim's primary caregiver, Angela Christine Speyrer of Arnaudville, who was living with the victim who was already in poor health. Investigators say an audit of the victim's bank account showed Speyrer allegedly signed four unauthorized checks totaling $1,130.47 written for cash to herself while the victim was hospitalized.
Nearly a week after the victim was hospitalized, the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office deputies were called out to Speyrer's home after her dog allegedly attacked and bit a detective with the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office Elderly Affairs Division. The detective told deputies she heard the large dog barking aggressively inside the home when she knocked on the door and noticed Speyrer looking out of the front window, speaking to the dog in a commanding voice before the dog charged out of the front door and attacked her leg. She says she identified herself and yelled at Speyrer to control the dog, to no avail.
The dog would not release its bite until a witness began hitting it. Speyrer allegedly watched the attack play out from her porch. Once the dog's bite was broken, Speyrer then controlled the dog and put it inside the home, until St. Landry Parish Animal Control later took possession of it.
“I would like to thank Crime Stoppers and the tipsters who called in the location of Angela Speyrer," says Sheriff Guidroz. "This case shows that when the community and law enforcement work together, we can make our community safe for everyone.”