Illegal Nursing Home Operator Faces Felony Elder Abuse Charges

felony elder abuseWoman Who Operated Unlicensed Nursing Home Faces Charges of Felony Elder Abuse

On September 10th, police in Cobb County, Georgia arrested a woman on elder abuse charges after it was discovered that she ran an unlicensed nursing home in the basement of her house. The charges were recently upgraded to felony elder abuse. She turned herself in based on an arrest warrant which was issued after health inspectors reportedly attempted to get into the house to inspect it, but were barred by an employee.

Two days later, authorities decided to upgrade the charges against her to felony elder abuse and elder neglect.

Raqael Penny, 42 years old, spoke out on Thursday, September 12th, regarding the charges against her. “My hope is today the public will only look at the facts and not the untruth of the stories that have been out in the media,” Penny said.

“Everybody I care for receives excellent care,” she added.

Police reports state that the home on Laurel Street had a broken refrigerator filled with rotten food, and sheets used as ceilings. There were no bathing facilities for any of the patients, and the residents lived in tiny, makeshift rooms with plywood walls.

“I do take issue with the facts of possibly feeding elderly people dog food. I take issue with the fact of pictures of a refrigerator that was not working at the time, unplugged and in the garage and due to be picked up,” Penny said.

She also disputed charges that she had been on the run from the elder abuse charges until the arrest warrant caught up with her, although she disappeared with her patients in tow shortly before the arrest warrant was issued.

“I was never on the run. When I knew of a warrant, I was immediately on the phone in contact with Sgt. Carter and together we planned and decided when and how I would turn myself in, and did just that,” Penny said.

Investigators said there were a total of six people in the home. Detectives interviewed two of the former residents of the home, which they said led to the upgraded elder abuse charges against Penny.

“I definitely will continue to care for the elderly,” Penny said. “It hurts deep, knowing how much I love caring for others,” she told reporters.

Signs of Elder Abuse, Including Felony Elder Abuse

A person does not have to inflict abuse to be held responsible for the physical abuse. One is culpable by allowing it to take place without doing anything to stop or prevent the abuse. By law, physical abuse includes: slapping, hitting, kicking, biting, choking, pinching, burning, drugging a patient or confining a patient to control behavior.

Nursing home residents suffering from physical abuse by their caregivers (home caregivers, family member caregivers) may show:

  • bruises, welts, burns
  • unexplained fractures or other physical injuries
  • repeated accidents
  • injuries left untreated
  • references to caregiver’s temper or anger
  • nervous or quiet around caregiver
  • runs away from the home or tries to
  • has marks or scars from restraints on wrists
  • shows effects of chemical restraints such as incoherence, grogginess, excessive sleep
  • sudden fear, restlessness, anxiety
  • prevented from getting medical treatment or being alone with visitors

Physical abuse of the elderly, whether in a nursing home, or at home by a caregiver, is a felony and should be prosecuted.

The Attorneys at the Strom Law Firm Prosecute Felony Elder Abuse

If your loved one has physically suffered, or died wrongfully, because an in-home caregiver or registered nurse in a nursing home has neglected the patient, you may have a felony elder abuse case. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm understand the sensitive nature of elder abuse cases, and will treat you with respect and compassion. It is important to fight felony elder abuse so you, your family, and others no longer suffer because of criminal behavior. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case. Contact us today for help.803.252.4800