Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has announced a new initiative to increase the investigation and prosecution of cases involving the abuse of the elderly.
"Older Ohioans are vulnerable to abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation for a number of reasons," Attorney General DeWine said. "Through the Elder Justice Initiative, the Attorney General's Office will work with local officials and advocates to identify, investigate, and prosecute elder abuse cases and increase services to victims."
Abuse against the elderly can be physical, sexual, verbal or emotional in nature and includes neglect, abandonment and financial exploitation including exerting undue influence.
A Department of Justice study estimated that in 2009, about one in nine people aged 60 or older suffered abuse each year. For each case reported, authorities estimated five more go unreported.
In making the announcement, Attorney General DeWine also highlighted some recent Ohio cases involving abuse of the elderly including the 2012 sentencing of Virgen Caraballo. A judge sentenced Caraballo to 10 years in prison after guilty pleas on seven counts of patient abuse at a nursing facility. The case was first brought to the attention of authorities by The Investigator, Tom Meyer.
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In 2010, Ohio had 2.28 million adults aged 60 or older. The number is expected to increase 29% by 2020 and by 50% by 2040 according to the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University.