Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Open Letter to Mr. Robert Butterworth -By Maria M Gallo,Esquire.

All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to say nothing.

Mr. Butterworth, as a lawyer myself and as a guardian, I understand confidentiality and respect and dignity for my clients, my wards, and the alleged incapacitated persons under investigation.

But when those laws and/or internal DCF Adult Protective Services policies interfere with a thorough investigation, or worse yet, contribute to the on-going abuse of our elders, then those laws and policies need to be changed.

As a former senior DCF attorney, I know firsthand that API investigators are sometimes afraid to ask too many questions for fear that they are breaching confidentiality rules. These investigators need to be trained that asking questions (of neighbors, relatives, friends, pastors, doctors) are part of their job without fear of reprisal.
Even after privitization, most API and child abuse investigators remain employees of the state. They are protected so long as they are conducting their investigation in good faith.

In elder abuse cases, judges can help: when they see that lawyers drafting wills are also beneficiaries under those wills, they need to be asking more questions of those lawyers. Especially if the person was declared incompetent in or around the time of the will drafting.

Protect our elders and vulnerable populations by speaking up, not by remaining silent.

Thank you, Mr. Butterworth.

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