Felony Elder Abuse Charges in Castro Valley Case

Back in 2013, a number of elderly residents in a Castro Valley facility were abandoned, “left without proper staffing or care for two days,” according to a recent article in the San Jose Mercury News. Now, the owner and administrator from the facility, Valley Springs Manor, “have been charged with felony elder abuse and could face up to 17 years in prison if convicted.”

Indictment for Felony Elder Abuse

Who can be held liable for the serious allegations concerning nursing home abuse in Castro Valley? Based on an announcement from California Attorney General Kamala Harris, both the owner of Valley Springs Manor, Herminigilda Manuel, as well as a top administrator, Edgar Babael, have been indicted on 14 felony counts of elder abuse. Manuel was arrested by agents from the Department of Homeland Security at San Francisco International Airport, and a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Babel.

California authorities allege that Manuel and Babel “left residents in the care of only a janitor and a cook for several days after the state abruptly shut down the facility in October 2013.” The Valley Spring case, as well as other involving nursing home abuse and neglect, have resulted in a much-needed crackdown from the California Department of Social Services. To be sure, based on information about the elder abuse incident in Castro Valley, “legislators have pushed the department to improve not only its procedures for orderly closure of facilities, but also its maintenance of records showing individual facilities’ inspection and violation histories.”

After officials ordered the closure of Valley Springs Manor, no local authorities were contacted “to assist residents with finding new homes.” As such, numerous residents were abandoned at the facility without any “medical personnel to care for them, feed them, or provide them with medications.”

The only two staff members that remained at the facility—a janitor and a cook—reportedly “struggled to provide basic care” for those living at the facility. When asked about the recent indictment, both the janitor, Miguel Alvarez, and the cook, Maurice Rowland, emphasized that they were glad the facility owner and administrator would be held legally accountable for abandoning the elderly residents.

Efforts to Hold Owner and Administrator Liable

What do the charges against Manuel and Babael specifically entail? According to the article, they have been accused of “knowingly and willingly inflicted unjustifiable pain and mental suffering” on the residents of Valley Springs Manor when they abandoned them in October 2013.

Under the California Penal Code section 368(b)(1)(2)(3), Manuel and Babael could face the following penalties for felony elder abuse, including jail time:

  •      One year in county jail and $6,000 fine, or
  •      State prison for two, three, or four years.

In cases where a victim “suffers great bodily injury,” the perpetrator can face an additional 3 to 5 years in state prison. Those prison terms increase in the event of the death of the victim.

Nursing home neglect is a serious issue, and is can result in severe and fatal injuries to elderly residents. If you have concerns about a loved one’s safety or care in a California nursing home, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced San Diego elder abuse attorney.

See Related Blog Posts:

Staffing Shortages at Skilled Nursing Facilities

Sexual Abuse Reported at Nursing Home