Mary Schuett commented on Share Your Story 2019-02-09 15:53:42 -0800My father met his abuser the night she was a substitute caregiver for my stepmother….the night my stepmother died….
Less than a month later, at her Memorial, the abuser was present, comforting my father.
My father was in his late 70’s. The abuser in her late 20’s….
Within months, the abuser had moved herself in to my father’s home, unbeknownst to any of our family.
When we came to visit Dad, we were reintroduced to his “girlfriend” /abuser.
She was drunk and sobbing, telling us her Uncle had just died in Mexico, but she couldn’t go because she had a warrant out for her arrest. Two red flags!
The next day we were watching football on t.v., one of my dad’s favorite pastimes. The abuser again drunk, stormed in and turned off the t.v. When my husband told her we wanted to watch this, she went into a tirade, yelling at all of us. Another red flag.
My father paid for the abuser’s 3-month stint at rehab. She was allegedly clean, sober, and had found religion.
Our family tried to be supportive, even though our instincts told us otherwise.
Shortly after this, I received an email from Dad’s former co-worker. She asked if he was ok, because she hadn’t received any of his email jokes. After asking my dad about this, his friend received a message from the abuser, telling her to back off. Then, his Facebook account was closed..then his email account….
At that time, we did not know there were steps we could take to help our father.
In 2015, when Dad told us he was going to marry her, our hearts sank. We did ourt best to be sure this is what he really wanted, and to his legal and financial issues were protected.
Despite our pleas for reconsideration, in June, 2015, the abuser wed my father.
Our family was there to support him. Dad was extremely and uncharacteristically nervous. Even then we told him he could back out, but he didn’t. At the reception , her family and friends taunted our family. Two ladies tried to seduce my husband and my married brother. The abuser’s cousin slapped my daughter, because she didn’t want to join the bouquet-tossing ritual.
Our family exited the scene so that things didn’t escalate further.
The next day, Dad called to scold my daughter for her behavior, never acknowledging that the abuser’s family member had assaulted her.
In less than 24 hours, the lines were drawn. Lots of red flags.
Soon, we weren’t even able to contact our father by phone or text, without having to go through the abuser.
In August, 2015, Dad changed his Will. Much to the abuser’s displeasure, he still left the majority of his Estate to my brother and me.
This is when the physical abuse began (or perhaps escalated.)
In November, 2015, we received a call from Adult Protective Services, saying that our father had been physically abused by his wife/abuser. Someone had finally stepped forward to help my father.
My brother and I immediately flew to California to be with our father. We learned that the abuser had kicked him repeatedly in the ground, the abdomen, the back, the legs.. She poured coffee and salt on him, while he lay helplessly in bed.
We learned that, a week earlier, Dad had fled to my uncle’s house, saying he was scared, and that he feared for his life. He told his brother that the abuser had previously stabbed her mother, and that he feared for his life. However, the following day, Dad called my uncle, saying his abuser had done nothing wrong, and that it was his fault.
We learned that the abuser had broken several cellphones, took away his desktop and laptops.
We helped our father file a restraining order and a petition for divorce.
In December, 2015, the abuser’s criminal attorney asked that we drop the restraining order, and offered to orchestrate the divorce. Against my better judgment, my brother took Dad toyhe lawyer’s office to sign this agreement.
The abuser moved to Long Beach, so we thought our dad was safe.
We got Dad a new cellphone, with a different number; we got him a new laptop and email account.
Over the holidays, Dad visited our family in Denver and Phoenix. He was finally able to enjoy his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, without having to worry about looking over his shoulder.
However, by the end of January, the texts, emails and phone calls became less frequent. He was more elusive about his activities, and he canceled plans with his brother .
We knew the abuser was back!
The isolation became even worse than before. My brother and I kept in touch with Adult Protective Services and at times, called the Newport Beach Police Department to do welfare checks.
We knew that something would happen, but if we could thwart the abuse, we would do what we could.
We suspected the abuser was monitoring his text messages and phone calls. Dad was cautious and guarded about what he said on the phone.
My brother and I felt helpless, and did not know there was anything else we could do to help our father. It was especially frustrating because we lived so far away.
We began checking out the abuser’s Facebook, looking for clues about what she and our dad were doing. Interestingly enough, there was nothing about our Dad. Instead, her page included photos and posts about her numerous concerts, trips and travels all around the world… Vegas, Palm Springs, Fiji, Mexico, and Europe! During this time the abuser was not working, so it was apparent who was paying for her extravagant lifestyle.
In Jun, 2017, I was contacted by the Orange County Conservatorship Office.
One of our father’s financial institutions had contacted the office about suspicion of financial abuse, and that action needed to be taken.
My brother and I had to make a decision about what to do. … let the County begin the Conservatorship process, or have us apply for Conservatorship to protect our father. We did not want a stranger to do this. We willingly accepted the responsibility. And when we did, we never realized the rollercoaster ride that was ahead of us. The following 18 months would be a joyful, yet heartbreaking journey.
Our lawyer filed the petition for Temporary Conservatorship and in July, my brother and I were in charge of protecting Dad. Our first act was to kick the abuser out of Dad’s home.
I stayed with him the next four weeks. His abuser continued to call and text, filing a petition to have “Visitation.”
The Court granted this, allowing for lunch dates and and one sleepover per week, as long as the time periods were adhered to. This agreement was short- lived , as the abuser did not abide by the rules. She picked him up at a neighborhood park, and left with him.
I called the police, and as I would come to realize, were not very helpful. It didn’t seem to matter that he was under temporary Conservatorship. In the officers’ eyes, they were married and had every right to be together.
Once again we had to file a restraining order. Yet, the abuser continued to contact him. Although my father and I got along, there was always a bit if resentment about the Conservatorship. He falsely believed that we initiated this process, and that we were only doing this for money.
In the meantime, I took Dad to medical appointments and psychological exams. Was he under undue influence and stress, of the abuser, when he made his financial and personal decisions?
According to the psychologist, “Yes.”
In August, my brother arrived to take over Dad’s caretaker duties. Unfortunately, by this time his abuser had poisoned Dad’s mind so that he was barely speaking to either of us. Even in her physical absence, she was influencing his thoughts..despite the restraining order.
What my brother and I did uncover is :
That my Dad/abuser changed his will four times between Feb. and April 2017.
That there was a “death cabinet” filled with Dad’s box for his ashes, an engraved necklace and mini-urn, a guestbook, pen, and boxes of Kleenex. All of this put together by his abuser…
That there were numerous “t.v.” Life Insurance Policies purchased.
That one of Dad’s stock accounts, including joint accounts with my brother and me, had been manipulated – most of which was transferred into their joint checking account.
That there were numerous ATM withdrawals, from their joint checking account, taken out 3-4 times per week.
My brother and I showed Dad these financial abuses. He didn’t seem to understand, or Want to understand.
The Probate judge, new to the department, proceeded cautiously and ordered continuance after continuance.
This extra time allowed for the abuser to move back into Dad’s home, as my brother and I were not able to stay with our Dad. We had to go home to our jobs and our families.
The abuser hired and fired at least three attorneys to represent my father. She hired and fired at least three attorneys to represent herself, because she filed a Petition to be his Conservator!!
During this time, we were, once again, cut off from our father. We saw him during from our almost monthly Court visits, but if he even looked our way, his abuser would admonish him.
In March, we went to one of our hearings, and to our surprise, our father and his abuser did not show up. The attorney advised the judge that Dad was in the hospital. We were concerned, and asked where he was, so we could go see him. We were never told, and spent the next few hours calling all the hospitals and clinics in the OC area. We found out he had been in the e.r. with respiratory issues,, but then released. We could not find him. He was not at home.
My brother and I took our legal documents to the hospital, stating that we needed to be notified on all medical decisions.
Days later, Dad was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia and malnutrition. We spoke to APS and they contacted the hospital social worker to let her know of his previous abuse. We cakked several times per day to check on Dad. We were told that his wife had been causing problems, and that she had been asked to leave. When they asked Dad if he wanted her to return, he said, “No.”
He was later taken to a rehabilitation center to regain his strength and nutritional needs.
We also contacted the caseworker there.
We soon learned that she was back and causing problems. We then received a call from Dad’s nurse. That Sunday night in April, the nurse said that Dad had checked himself out of the rehabilitation center, and that his wife/abuser, claiming to be a Hospice care nurse, put him into an Uber and she got in her car and followed it.
We told the nurse to call the police and to go to Dad’s residence.
Once again, the police did nothing.
Then…less than a month later on May 10, 2018, we got a call from the Newport Beach Police. Dad had been physically attacked by his abuser/wife. She took his phone so he couldn’t call 911. Dad was able to make it to his neighbor’s house. He called 911.
The paramedics bandaged Dad’s bloody arms and legs, where she had hit and scratched his fragile arms.
The paramedics wanted to take him to the hospital, but he refused.
Our aunt and uncle went to be with Dad. During this time, the abuser came back. She was angry they were there and told them to leave. After arguing in the bedroom for a few minutes, Dad told her to leave.
About 11:30 p.m. that night, the abuser came back again. As he was sleeping, she
struck Dad in the head with an unknown object.
The next morning, an APS caseworker came out to check on him and asked that he be taken to the hospital for his bloody head injury. During this time, she questioned him about what had happened.
Dad said that a Court investigator had come to the house to question him about the abuser’s fitness to be his Conservator. Dad was asked if she ever drank, and he truthfully answered that she did. When the investigator left, the abuser became furious with him, and starting beating him.
We soon learned that Dad had suffered a brain hematoma.
The next day he was released with Home Healthcare coming to help him with wound care, physical, occupational
and nutritional therapy.
My brother and I flew out to be with Dad. He was extremely relieved to see us.
The NBPD had issued a warrant for the abuser’s arrest. She was arrested and charged with multiple felonies, with a $250,000 bond. However, at the appearance, this was reduced to $100,000, so she made bail. The Court also issued a 2-year Order of Protection.
The Conservatorship had still not been decided, so we were unable to take Dad our of the state to live with us. So, we
hired a part-time caregiver and a counselor. He continued to get Home Healthcare Services and my daughter went to stay with him until our October October date.
We had contacted his lawyer to redo his Will. We filed a petition to annul the marriage. This is what our father wanted.
We were finally granted Conservatorship in October. Although we wouldn’t have the official paperwork for a few weeks, the judge allowed Dad to be taken out of state.
The next day, my brother and I moved Dad to Arizona. We enjoyed the trip and made precious memories. A week after he had been with me, we had to take him to the hospital. He was weak and had a UTI. The following week he went to rehab to become stronger. However, he became weaker and was unable to do anymore therapy. He was taken to Hopice and died peacefully on November 2, 2018.
Although we had filed for annulment, the correed petition wasn’t officially filed until November 1. And because Dad had moved to Arizona, his California attorney couldn’t, or wouldn’t, redo the Will before he died.
On December 19, a retiring Orange County judge was offering " fire sales" to most of the defendants on his docket. He was practically giving Holiday gifts to the defendants, whether or not justice would be served. My dad’s abuser/ wife was offered a plea of one year in County jail, with three years probation and an anger management class. She took this offer, pleading guilty to four felonies.
Last week, my brother and I were finally able to address the abuser. We gave our Impact Statements to the new judge. He was moved and told us he was bound by the retiring judge’s plea offer, although he didn’t agree with it. So she was sentenced on January 31. However, she is still walking free because she doesn’t have to report to jail until March 29th.
She has filed a property petition to receive our father’s money. We have filed a wrongful Death and Elder Abuse case.
We will continue to fight for our father.
We would appreciate any help, tips, etc.
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Mary Schuett signed Take The Pledge 2018-11-24 21:42:23 -0800@KerriKasem Just watched 48 Hours.My brother and I felt eerie similarities to to what you and your siblings are going through. We have been dealing with some similar legal issues with our Dad, who just passed away a few weeks ago. Justice moves very slowly. We are rooting for you guys2,389 pledges
Stop the Silence. Promote Awareness. Raise your Voice.
- 1 to 2 million Americans age 65+ report having been abused by a loved one or someone they depend on for care.
- Only 1 in 14 incidents of elder abuse are ever reported to authorities.
- Only 1 in 25 cases of financial exploitation are ever reported, meaning there may be at least 5 million financial abuse victims each year.
You can do your part to end the silent epidemic of elder abuse by taking the pledge to stand up against elder abuse. There are 10,000 people who are turning 65 each and every day (Pew Research Center), and we are rapidly approaching a time where nearly 50% of the population will be 65 or older. Together, we can end the silence of elder abuse by standing united and raising our voices against this growing problem.
Show your support in this movement, by pledging to end the silence, raising awareness in your community, and speaking up against elder abuse.
"Kerri Kasem is working to honor our elderly. . by God it is very important and obligation to dignify our eldery...Freedom from isolation. Go Kerri Kasem. Thank you." V. Amaral
"Without stimulation and love, people die." THANKS for pointing out that isolation is elder abuse." S. White
"I can't thank you enough for starting this conversation. Your dad would be so proud. He is smiling watching you change such an important part of wishes that I am sure were already planned. It breaks my heart for all the pain you endure to get something that should not even be a fight. You are inspirational and have helped me keep my head on straight knowing how hard you are working. Thank you from the bottom of my heart." R. Bove
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