Elder Abuse & Caretaker Crimes in Oklahoma – Law & Punishment

Abuse, Neglect, or Financial Exploitation by Caretaker

It’s illegal for a caretaker or other person to abuse, commit financial neglect, neglect, commit sexual abuse, or exploit any person entrusted to the care of such caretaker or other person in a nursing facility or other setting, or knowingly cause, secure, or permit any of these acts to be done. Consent shall isn’t a defense for a violation of this law.

This crime is a felony. The maximum punishment in the Department of Corrections is 10 years. The maximum fine is $10,000. This is an 85% crime.

Breaking this law by committing sexual abuse increases the penalty. The maximum punishment in the Department of Corrections is 15 years. The maximum fine is $10,000. This is an 85% crime.

Source: 21 O. S. § 843.1

Abuse of a Vulnerable Adult Who is a Resident of a Nursing Facility a Violent Crime

The abuse of a vulnerable adult who resides at a nursing home is considered a violent crime in Oklahoma.

Source: 57 O.S. § 571

Terms Defined

abuse of vulnerable person and elder oklahoma defense attorney“Incapacitated person” means:

  1. any person eighteen (18) years of age or older:
    1. who is impaired by reason of mental or physical illness or disability, dementia or related disease, developmental or intellectual disability or other cause, and
    2. whose ability to receive and evaluate information effectively or to make and to communicate responsible decisions is impaired to such an extent that such person lacks the capacity to manage his or her financial resources or to meet essential requirements for his or her mental or physical health or safety without assistance from others, or
  2. a person for whom a guardian, limited guardian, or conservator has been appointed pursuant to the Oklahoma Guardianship and Conservatorship Act.

“Vulnerable adult” means an individual who is an incapacitated person or who, because of physical or mental disability, including persons with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, incapacity, or other disability, is substantially impaired in the ability to provide adequately for the care or custody of himself or herself, or is unable to manage his or her property and financial affairs effectively, or to meet essential requirements for mental or physical health or safety, or to protect himself or herself from abuse, verbal abuse, neglect, or exploitation without assistance from others.

“Caretaker” means a person who has:

  1. the responsibility for the care of a vulnerable adult or the financial management of the resources of a vulnerable adult as a result of a family relationship,
  2. assumed the responsibility for the care of a vulnerable adult voluntarily, by contract, or as a result of the ties of friendship, or
  3. been appointed a guardian, limited guardian, or conservator pursuant to the Oklahoma Guardianship and Conservatorship Act.

“Abuse” means causing or permitting:

  1. the infliction of physical pain, injury, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, unreasonable restraint or confinement, mental anguish or personal degradation, or
  2. the deprivation of nutrition, clothing, shelter, health care, or other care or services without which serious physical or mental injury is likely to occur to a vulnerable adult by a caretaker or other person providing services to a vulnerable adult.

“Exploitation” or “exploit” means an unjust or improper use of the resources of a vulnerable adult for the profit or advantage, pecuniary or otherwise, of a person other than the vulnerable adult through the use of undue influence, coercion, harassment, duress, deception, false representation or false pretense.

“Financial neglect” means repeated instances by a caretaker, or other person, who has assumed the role of financial management, of failure to use the resources available to restore or maintain the health and physical well-being of a vulnerable adult, including, but not limited to:

  1. squandering or negligently mismanaging the money, property, or accounts of a vulnerable adult,
  2. refusing to pay for necessities or utilities in a timely manner, or
  3. providing substandard care to a vulnerable adult despite the availability of adequate financial resources.

“Neglect” means:

  1. the failure to provide protection for a vulnerable adult who is unable to protect his or her own interest,
  2. the failure to provide a vulnerable adult with adequate shelter, nutrition, health care, or clothing, or
  3. negligent acts or omissions that result in harm or the unreasonable risk of harm to a vulnerable adult through the action, inaction, or lack of supervision by a caretaker providing direct services.

“Personal degradation” means a willful act by a caretaker intended to shame, degrade, humiliate or otherwise harm the personal dignity of a vulnerable adult, or where the caretaker knew or reasonably should have known the act would cause shame, degradation, humiliation or harm to the personal dignity of a reasonable person. Personal degradation includes the taking, transmitting, or display of an electronic image of a vulnerable adult by a caretaker, where the caretaker’s actions constitute a willful act intended to shame, degrade, humiliate or otherwise harm the personal dignity of the dependent adult, or where the caretaker knew or reasonably should have known the act would cause shame, degradation, humiliation or harm to the personal dignity of a reasonable person. Personal degradation does not include:

  1. the taking, transmission or display of an electronic image of a vulnerable adult for the purpose of reporting vulnerable adult abuse to law enforcement, the Department of Human Services or other regulatory agency that oversees caretakers or enforces abuse or neglect laws or rules,
  2. the taking, transmission or display of an electronic image of a vulnerable adult for the purpose of treatment or diagnosis, or
  3. the taking, transmission or display of an electronic image of a vulnerable adult as part of an ongoing investigation.

“Sexual abuse” means:

  1. oral, anal, or vaginal penetration of a vulnerable adult by or through the union with the sexual organ of a caretaker or other person providing services to the vulnerable adult, or the anal or vaginal penetration of a vulnerable adult by a caretaker or other person providing services to the vulnerable adult with any other object, or
  2. for the purpose of sexual gratification, the touching, feeling or observation of the body or private parts of a vulnerable adult by a caretaker or other person providing services to the vulnerable adult, or
  3. indecent exposure by a caretaker or other person providing services to the vulnerable adult.

“Sexual exploitation” includes, but is not limited to, a caretaker’s causing, allowing, permitting or encouraging a vulnerable adult to engage in prostitution or in the lewd, obscene, or pornographic photographing, filming or depiction of the vulnerable adult as those acts are defined by state law.

“Verbal abuse” means the use of words, sounds, or other communication including, but not limited to, gestures, actions or behaviors, by a caretaker or other person providing services to a vulnerable adult that are likely to cause a reasonable person to experience humiliation, intimidation, fear, shame or degradation.

Source: 43A O. S. § 10-103

Verbal Abuse by a Caretaker

It’s illegal for a caretaker to verbally abuse any person entrusted to the care of the caretaker, or knowingly cause, secure, or permit an act of verbal abuse to be done.

“Verbal abuse” means the repeated use of words, sounds, or other forms of communication by a caretaker, including but not limited to, language, gestures, actions, or behaviors, that are calculated to humiliate or intimidate or cause fear, embarrassment, shame, or degradation to the person entrusted to the care of the caretaker.

This crime is a misdemeanor. The maximum punishment in jail is one year. The maximum fine is $1,000.

Source: 21 O. S. § 843.2

Sexual Abuse or Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult

Sexual abuse or exploitation of a vulnerable adult is a felony. The maximum punishment in the Department of Corrections is two years. The maximum fine is $10,000.

A person who has a responsibility to care for a vulnerable adult who purposely, knowingly, or recklessly neglects the vulnerable adult commits a felony. The maximum punishment in the Department of Corrections is two years. The maximum fine is $10,000.

Source: 21 O. S. § 843.3

Current as of April 9, 2020. Laws are subject to change at any time. See the linked statutes above for the most current law.

Charged with abuse of a vulnerable person in Oklahoma? Call Oklahoma elder abuse defense lawyer Frank Urbanic in OKC for a free case consultation.

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