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Mickey Rooney Claims Elder Abuse

Actor's testimony to Congress helps spur bill for new crackdown

States feeling squeezed

"The states are in horrible condition," she told the Bulletin. "A woman at APS in New Jersey told me that she had twice as many investigators to respond to reports 10 years ago as she does today."

Page Ulrey, an elder abuse prosecutor in King County in Washington state, faces similar challenges. The lack of state and national funding hampers prosecutors' ability to effectively investigate and prosecute an ever-increasing load of suspected elder abuse cases. Many of these cases are extremely complex and involve issues of capacity, competency, financial instruments and complicated medical issues.

"Very few prosecutors' offices can pay for financial analysts, medical consultants and other similar services," Ulrey told the Bulletin, "and these cases often cannot be handled without them."

Mickey Rooney Claims Elder Abuse

Mickey Rooney in 1944. — Bettmann/Corbis

Rooney made his first cinematic appearance in 1926 as a child actor in the silent film Not to Be Trusted. He was later signed by the MGM studio and became one of Hollywood's biggest box-office draws in such films as Boys Town and Babes in Arms. In 1979, he revived his career with a stage production of Sugar Babies.

The now-white-haired actor, wearing an olive business suit, garnered applause when he entered the Senate hearing room. Reading his testimony, sometimes putting his head in his hands, he said he felt fortunate for the support of his family, friends and fans after his ordeal.

"To those seniors and especially elderly veterans like myself, I want to tell you this: You are not alone and you having nothing to be ashamed of. If elder abuse happened to me, it can happen to anyone," Rooney said. "I want you to know that you deserve better."

The signs of elder abuse >>

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