Casey Kasem Case Spurs Proposed Family-Law Bill

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LOS ANGELES (KABC)—Ailing radio legend Casey Kasem may inspire a new law based on his children’s attempts to visit him. The legendary radio DJ has been suffering from Parkinson’s disease for years. His family has been embroiled in a battle over the right to visit him, which has prompted a state lawmaker to take action.

It’s been a frustrating court battle for Kasem’s kids. But now one of his daughters says she has new hope. Kerri Kasem says she simply wants to see her father, but is being denied by her stepmother of 33 years, Jean. “To be blocked for no reason when he needs us the most has been the hardest thing I have ever had to go through,” said Kerri Kasem. Casey Kasem signed off the air in 2009 due to Parkinson’s disease and is now hospitalized. Kasem’s kids have protested outside his home to see him and recently battled in court. “There is nothing in the law books right now that allows a judge to adjudicate, to rule on visitation rights for children,” said Kerri Kasem.

Now Kerri is joining Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) in proposing new legislation. “Current law does not provide for any information to be given to the adult children of somebody who might be sick and elderly. We want to change that,” said Gatto. Gatto’s bill would require conservators inform relatives if someone is hospitalized for acute care, or dies, and disclose funeral arrangements and burial location. Gatto says the bill also provides “reasonable accommodations” for adult children to visit their parent. “This is about keeping families together,” said Gatto. “I think the most important thing, of course, is to make sure that children get to see their mom or dad if that person is getting toward the end of days.” “It’s the most important thing I’ve ever done in my life and I just hope this helps so many families that are going through this,” said Kerri Kasem.

What does the bill meant to Kerri personally? “That there’s hope, that there’s light, and that my father would have stood up and done something about this, and he can’t, so I’m doing it for him,” said Kerri. Gatto hopes to pass this bill under what’s called “urgent status.” If so, that means it could become law by mid-summer.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

3 Comments for : Casey Kasem Case Spurs Proposed Family-Law Bill
    • Christine Grzemkowski
    • February 24, 2014

    Good evening Kerri. Your situation is similar to mine and my sister’s situation. In 2008, our father (Bruce Coverdill) had a massive stroke which basically wiped out the entire left side of his brain. He was left paralyzed and although he did recover some physically, he never gained full use of his legs or his arm. He was also left with expressive and receptive aphasia which basically means he cannot communicate in a way in which he can be understood. My sister and I fought for him to get better, however his wife sabotaged his rehabilitation at every turn. We do not call her our step-mother as she is younger than both my sister and I. Anyway, she eventually placed him in a substandard group home and he was neglected and we suspected he was abused in the group home. I am a social worker and am required by law to report to our local authorities when I suspect abuse/neglect. I called in my concerns and the group home was substantiated for neglect (we have the documentation confirming the findings). Later, our father was bruised along the entire right side of his body (the effected side) and unfortunately he could not tell us what happened due to the expressive and receptive aphasia. When we questioned the group home about the bruises they stated he didn’t have any bruises and hung up on me. I again called the proper authorities as I was concerned he may have been abused. My father’s wife filed a petition with the court requesting to have our visitation suspended as she stated my sister and I are a danger to our father since I called Adult Protective Services when I was concerned and suspected abuse/neglect. The court ordered that we are never to have any kind of contact with our father again as the court determined I am a danger to my father since I called the authorities about my concerns. There has never been any evidence presented to the court that we are actually a danger to our father. The court said since my father’s blood pressure goes up when the group home tells him I call that is indicative that I am a danger to him. A year ago, my father’s best friend died and I called to tell him (he loved this man very much and I believed he had a right to know). When he answered the phone he indicated he wanted to talk to me. When he heard about his friend’s death he cried and was upset. My father’s wife petitioned the court requesting a show cause hearing to show why I should not be held in contempt of court for calling my dad. I was found in contempt of court and sentenced to either 10 days in jail or 80 hours of community service. I completed the community service. The judge told me I will never see my father again since it is clear to her that I will keep trying to see and talk to him no matter what. We have been unable to afford the attorneys to file appeals regarding the rulings. We resort to begging my dad’s side of the family to tell us when he dies so we can pay our respects. I have not seen my father in over 5 years and had not spoke to him in over 5 years when I was found in contempt of court for calling him. My sister and I have basically given up hope that we will ever see him again. And we probably will not even know when he dies. This is a tragedy and a miscarriage of justice. Our father has not been able to say what he wants because he can’t speak. But our father would want to see us and our children. I pray that he is blissfully unaware of what is going on and doesn’t remember he has children so he doesn’t think we have abandoned him. I can’t imagine a worse punishment for him than to live out the remainder of his life without his children and grandchildren. I am willing to share my story on your website and any other way that can be of help to pass this legislation.

    • Nancy Quance
    • February 26, 2014

    I am very encouraged to see that someone is trying to work towards more rights for adults who have been denied access to their parent, due to choices of a step-parent. I have been dealing with this situation for the last almost a year and a half. For no apparent reason, my step-mother discontinued any contact that my mentally handicapped, older sister and I have had with our father. I have tried to check with our state’s attorney general’s office, worked with ombudsman on behalf of the elderly, social service agencies, and not had any resolution for this situation. She has power of attorney for him, and is abusing this. I fear that he may be experiencing emotional trauma, and financial exploitation, but seemingly an unable to do anything about it legally. I have consulted with a lawyer, but can’t afford to go the legal route, to fight this situation. My father will be 88 in April, and has not been in the best of health for the last 2 or 3 years. We have had what I thought was a good standing relationship with her for the last 20 or so years, that they have been married, but things really starting breaking down, relationship-wise, as I said about a year and a half ago. Any suggestions, for anything else that I can try, would be most appreciated. I fear that I may never see him again, my sister and I have already lost the last year and half of any time spent with our father. My mother, brother and younger sister are all deceased and the only immediate blood relatives that he has, are my sister and myself…..

    • Susan
    • March 22, 2014

    Kerri,
    I am so sorry to hear about your dad. I always enjoyed his show. I understand completely how you feel. I am suffering also with a similar situation except it’s my son NOT allowing me to see his children for no reason. I do hope you get the law passed. I will pray for your situation as well. I wish there were more I could do.

    God bless us all,
    Susan Johnson

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