Michigan Fights Elder Abuse

Elder abuse 1Right now, Michigan law only allows a felony if a person "causes serious physical harm or serious mental harm to a vulnerable adult.”


Legislation recently introduced in Michigan's House of Representatives would toughen the penalties for somebody who "assaults another person that he or she knows or reasonably should know is an elder adult or vulnerable adult" which "causes physical injury, pain, or mental suffering" to them. The individual would be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for more than four years or a fine of not more than $5,000.

The issue is timely and important, after a former Grand Rapids Home for Veterans caregiver Laurie Botbyl was convicted of a misdemeanor last month. With the new proposed law, prosecutors could have sought a felony charge against her.

A video obtained by a news outlet last year shows a fight, as Laurie Botbyl tried to get 83-year old veteran Maynard Mathers under control, while he sat in a wheelchair inside the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. Immediately thereafter, Botbyl placed both of her hands on the chair's handles, pulled the chair in and pushed the wheelchair forward out of her control. Mathers was injured after the incident. But the local prosecuting attorney said his office didn’t have crucial medical evidence to move the case forward in early 2016 and didn’t indict Botbyl. However, the case was re-opened after a TV investigative team obtained medical evidence indicating that Mathers had multiple injuries, including a "skin tear" on his leg when he was pushed into the desk in his wheelchair. The evidence prompted the prosecutor to take a second look at the case, which led to the criminal charge being filed against Botbyl. She is scheduled to be sentenced for the crime this fall.

"This is the (legislature) trying to protect seniors as a vulnerable group in our state," Rep. Diana Farrington (R-Utica) said.

Rep. Farrington sponsored the bill as part of a six-bill package aimed at protecting senior citizens. The bill addressing vulnerable adult abuse appears to already have bipartisan support.

"There should most certainly be serious penalties for harming an elderly adult or a vulnerable adult," Rep. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) said. "If it helps prevent the kinds of tragic abuse and neglect people suffered at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, I will gladly vote for it."

Reference: WZZM (September 28, 2017) “Lawmakers introduce tougher laws to protect vulnerable senior citizens”


Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment


We have a LOT more where that came from!

We hate spam too. We will never share or sell your information.

Call Now ButtonCall Us Now https://jsfiddle.net/7h5246b8/

Request a free consultation

We hate spam too. We will never share or sell your information.

We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
  • We launched the rollout of our on-demand webinar early so that new clients and our allied professionals can view the important component parts of ‘an estate plan that works’ at their convenience.  That is available on our website.
  • Live video workshops will be produced as quickly as possible and certainly ahead of our previous schedule; we will keep you posted as these events become available. Given the ‘boutique’ nature of the firm, we rarely have more than ten people in our office including team members at any one time. During this period of ‘social distancing,’ we promise to have no more than 8 people at any time.   This allows us to comply with the Governor’s directive to limit in-person gatherings.
  • The best way to communicate with us is still by phone during regular office hours of 8:30 to 5:00, Monday through Friday, or, you can email any of our team members (that is, their first name followed by @zarembalaw.com).  We will respond to these emails as quickly as possible.
  • Please continue to follow the directives of our local, state, and federal agencies. For your health and in consideration of our team who is assisting you, if you’ve scheduled an office appointment or planned to drop off paperwork and are experiencing a fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath, please contact your primary care doctor for guidance and then our office to reschedule.

Thank you, Walt and the Zaremba Team

Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.