In addition to the guilty plea, the agreement requires the facility’s parent company, Mandeville Shelter Care, to pay a $500 fine and make a $25,000 donation to the SALT (Seniors And Law Enforcement Together) Council, an advocacy organization that provides education and training about the safety of senior adults in St. Tammany Parish.
District Attorney Warren Montgomery and Assistant District Attorney Ysonde Boland present a $25,000 check to SALT (Seniors And Law Enforcement Together) Council Chairman Ralph Oneal. Pictured are (l to r): District Attorney Warren Montgomery, Assistant District Attorney Ysonde Boland, SALT Chairman Ralph Oneal, Assistant District Attorney Harold Bartholomew, and Criminal Division Chief Collin Sims.
The guilty plea stems from the rape of a 78-year-old dementia patient who was living at the facility in August 2016, when she was raped by Jerry Kan, who was working there as a cook. A St. Tammany Parish jury rejected Kan’s claim that the sexual contact was consensual, and he was convicted last year of third-degree rape. Kan is serving a 12-year prison sentence.
“Our seniors are a very valuable and sometimes vulnerable part of our community,” Montgomery said. “Whether individual or corporate, those who exploit senior citizens will be dealt with severely.”
Ralph Oneal, Chairman of the St. Tammany SALT Council said he checked with some national leaders of fellow organizations fighting elder abuse and none had heard of this type of plea agreement, which required the institution to take responsibility and contribute financially to elder abuse prevention training.
“This is a great precedent to demonstrate the responsibility, as well as the liability, of those institutions that care for our elderly,” Oneal said.
The plea agreement also calls for Julie Henry, who worked as the program services director at Beau Provence, to assist and participate in educational programs or seminars related to eldercare issues for the next two years, as requested by the District Attorney’s Office. Henry had been charged with obstruction of justice and failure to report the incident, but those charges have been suspended, pending the completion of the conditions of the agreement.
The donation will enable SALT to expand its training opportunities, Oneal said. For example, the group will consider adding a third day to its annual Elder Abuse Conference, which this year attracted participants from 24 states for two days in June. The funds also will make it possible for representatives of the organization to attend the Emergency Nurses Association conference in Pittsburgh in September, which the group previously could not afford.
“We’re going to be able to reach 3,500 nurses who work in emergency rooms across the country,” Oneal said. “That’s a big deal.”
Assistant District Attorney Ysonde Boland and Criminal Division Chief Collin Sims handled the case. They were assisted by Assistant District Attorney Harold Bartholomew.