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AG Mills and Legal Services for the Elderly partner to focus on legal response in cases of elder financial abuse
January 31, 2014
(AUGUSTA) Attorney General Janet T. Mills and Legal Services for the Elderly announced the formation of a task force to address barriers to the prosecution of financial exploitation and other serious crimes against the elderly.
“For many years the Attorney General’s Office and the District Attorneys have prosecuted crimes against the elderly,” AG Mills stated. “But with the aging of our State’s population, these crimes have become more prevalent. We need to encourage older citizens to report crimes and to assure them that their personal and financial security is paramount, that their input is valuable and that the criminal justice system will treat them fairly.”
Speaker of the House Mark Eves elevated the issue of aging in Maine by convening a series of roundtable discussions and a daylong summit that attracted hundreds of participants. The Attorney General’s taskforce will build on those efforts and on others, including the Kennebec and Somerset District Attorney’s Elder Abuse Task Force.
The task force will be chaired by Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin. Jaye L. Martin, Executive Director of Legal Services for the Elderly, will staff the task force, which will include prosecutors, law enforcement, DHHS and court personnel.
The task force will address the following questions: 1) What are the barriers to the prosecution of financial exploitation and other serious crimes against the elderly? Are there issues with court scheduling and accommodations for older persons? Do law enforcement and prosecutors require more skills and training to work with elderly witnesses and victims? Are elderly victims reluctant to come forward, especially when the alleged perpetrator may be a family member? Do members of law enforcement have the requisite experience and expertise to develop financial exploitation cases? Are fact finders sometimes biased against elderly witnesses?
2) What can be done to enhance the ability of law enforcement personnel and prosecutors to pursue cases of financial exploitation and other serious crimes against the elderly? This issue will include looking at court procedures, training in investigation and interview techniques and examining any appropriate law changes.