Georgia Protection of Elder Persons Act of 2000

TITLE 16 Chapter 5 Article 8

O.C.G.A. § 16-5-100 – Definitions

As used in this article, the term:
(1) “Alzheimer’s disease” means a progressive, degenerative disease or condition that attacks the brain and results in impaired memory, thinking, and behavior.
(2) “Dementia” means:

(A) An irreversible global loss of cognitive function causing evident intellectual impairment which always includes memory loss, without alteration of state of consciousness, as diagnosed by a physician, and is severe enough to interfere with work or social activities, or both, and to require at least intermittent care or supervision; or
(B) The comatose state of an adult resulting from any head injury.

(3) “Disabled adult” means a person 18 years of age or older who is mentally or physically incapacitated or has Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
(4) “Elder person” means a person 65 years of age or older.
(5) “Essential services” means social, medical, psychiatric, or legal services necessary to safeguard a disabled adult’s, elder person’s, or resident’s rights and resources and to maintain the physical and mental well-being of such person. Such services may include, but not be limited to, the provision of medical care for physical and mental health needs, assistance in personal hygiene, food, clothing, adequately heated and ventilated shelter, and protection from health and safety hazards.
(6) “Exploit” means illegally or improperly using a disabled adult or elder person or that person’s resources through undue influence, coercion, harassment, duress, deception, false representation, false pretense, or other similar means for one’s own or another person’s profit or advantage, including, but not limited to, the illegal taking of resources belonging to a disabled adult or elder person when access to the resources was obtained due to the disabled adult’s or elder person’s mental or physical incapacity.
(7) “Long-term care facility” means any skilled nursing facility, intermediate care home, assisted living community, community living arrangement, or personal care home subject to regulation and licensure by the Department of Community Health.
(7.1) “Mentally or physically incapacitated” means an impairment which substantially affects an individual’s ability to:

(A) Provide personal protection;
(B) Provide necessities, including but not limited to food, shelter, clothing, medical, or other health care;
(C) Carry out the activities of daily living; or
(D) Manage his or her resources.

(8) “Resident” means any person who is receiving treatment or care in any long-term care facility.
(9) “Sexual abuse” means the coercion for the purpose of self-gratification by a guardian or other person supervising the welfare or having immediate charge, control, or custody of a disabled adult, elder person, or resident to engage in any of the following conduct:

(A) Lewd exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of any person;
(B) Flagellation or torture by or upon a person who is unclothed or partially unclothed;
(C) Condition of being fettered, bound, or otherwise physically restrained on the part of a person who is unclothed or partially clothed unless physical restraint is medically indicated;
(D) Physical contact in an act of sexual stimulation or gratification with any person’s unclothed genitals, pubic area, or buttocks or with a female’s nude breasts;
(E) Defecation or urination for the purpose of sexual stimulation of the viewer; or
(F) Penetration of the vagina or rectum by any object except when done as part of a recognized medical or nursing procedure.

O.C.G.A. § 16-5-101 – Neglect to a disabled adult, elder person, or resident

(a) A guardian or other person supervising the welfare of or having immediate charge, control, or custody of a disabled adult, elder person, or resident commits the offense of neglect to a disabled adult, elder person, or resident when the person willfully deprives a disabled adult, elder person, or resident of health care, shelter, or necessary sustenance to the extent that the health or well-being of such person is jeopardized.
(b) The provisions of this Code section shall not apply to a physician nor any person acting under a physician’s direction nor to a hospital, hospice, or long-term care facility, nor any agent or employee thereof who is in good faith acting within the scope of his or her employment or agency or who is acting in good faith in accordance with a living will, a durable power of attorney for health care, an advance directive for health care, a Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment form pursuant to Code Section 31-1-14, an order not to resuscitate, or the instructions of the patient or the patient’s lawful surrogate decision maker, nor shall the provisions of this Code section require any physician, any institution licensed in accordance with Chapter 7 of Title 31, or any employee or agent thereof to provide essential services or shelter to any person in the absence of another legal obligation to do so.
(c) The provisions of this Code section shall not apply to a guardian or other person supervising the welfare of or having immediate charge, control, or custody of a disabled adult, elder person, or resident who in good faith provides treatment by spiritual means alone through prayer for the person’s physical or mental condition, in lieu of medical treatment, in accordance with the practices of and written notarized consent of the person.
(d) A person who commits the offense of neglect to a disabled adult, elder person, or resident of a long-term care facility, upon conviction, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than 20 years, a fine of not more than $50,000.00, or both.

O.C.G.A. § 16-5-102. Exploitation and intimidation of disabled adults, elder persons, and residents; obstruction of investigation

(a) Any person who knowingly and willfully exploits a disabled adult, elder person, or resident, willfully inflicts physical pain, physical injury, sexual abuse, mental anguish, or unreasonable confinement upon a disabled adult, elder person, or resident, or willfully deprives of essential services a disabled adult, elder person, or resident shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than 20 years, a fine of not more than $50,000.00, or both.
(b) Any person who threatens, intimidates, or attempts to intimidate a disabled adult, elder person, or resident who is the subject of a report made pursuant to Chapter 5 of Title 30 or Article 4 of Chapter 8 of Title 31, or any other person cooperating with an investigation conducted pursuant to this Code section, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.
(c) Any person who willfully and knowingly obstructs or in any way impedes an investigation conducted pursuant to Chapter 5 of Title 30 or Article 4 of Chapter 8 of Title 31, upon conviction, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.

O.C.G.A. § 16-5-102.1. Trafficking of a disabled adult, elder person, or resident; penalty

(a) As used in this Code section, the term:

(1) “Coercion” means:

(A) Causing or threatening to cause bodily harm to any disabled adult, elder person, or resident; physically restraining or confining any disabled adult, elder person, or resident; or threatening to physically restrain or confine any disabled adult, elder person, or resident;
(B) Exposing or threatening to expose any fact or information, or disseminating or threatening to disseminate any fact or information, that would tend to subject a disabled adult, elder person, or resident to criminal or immigration proceedings, hatred, contempt, or ridicule;
(C) Destroying, concealing, removing, confiscating, or possessing any actual or purported passport or other immigration document, or any other actual or purported government identification document, of a disabled adult, elder person, or resident;
(D) Providing a controlled substance to a disabled adult, elder person, or resident for the purpose of compelling him or her to engage in an action against his or her will; or
(E) Causing or threatening to cause financial harm to a disabled adult, elder person, or resident or using financial control over a disabled adult, elder person, or resident.

(2) “Controlled substance” shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 16-13-21.
(3) “Deception” means:

(A) Creating or confirming another person’s impression of an existing fact or past event which is false and which the accused knows or believes to be false;
(B) Maintaining the status or condition of a disabled adult, elder person, or resident arising from a pledge by such disabled adult, elder person, or resident of his or her personal services as security for a debt, if the value of those services as reasonably assessed is not applied toward the liquidation of the debt or the length and nature of those services are not respectively limited and defined, or preventing a disabled adult, elder person, or resident from acquiring information pertinent to the disposition of such debt; or
(C) Promising benefits or the performance of services which the accused does not intend to deliver or perform or knows will not be delivered or performed.

(4) “Exploitation” means illegally or improperly using a disabled adult, elder person, or resident or such individual’s resources through undue influence, harassment, duress, false representation, false pretense, or other similar means for one’s own or another person’s profit or advantage.
(5) “Isolation” means preventing a disabled adult, elder person, or resident from having contact with his or her friends or family, a welfare agency, law enforcement officers, health providers, or other individuals or entities without the knowledge of such disabled adult, elder person, or resident or against his or her wishes.

(b) A person commits the offense of trafficking a disabled adult, elder person, or resident when such person, through deception, coercion, exploitation, or isolation, knowingly recruits, harbors, transports, provides, or obtains by any means a disabled adult, elder person, or resident for the purpose of appropriating the resources of such disabled adult, elder person, or resident for one’s own or another person’s benefit.
(c) Any person who violates subsection (b) of this Code section shall be guilty of a felony, and upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than 20 years, a fine not to exceed $100,000.00, or both.
(d) Each violation of subsection (b) of this Code section shall constitute a separate offense and shall not merge with any other offense.
(e) Evidence of failure to deliver benefits or perform services standing alone shall not be sufficient to authorize a conviction under this Code section.
(f) This Code section shall not apply to a physician nor any person acting under a physician’s direction nor to a hospital, hospice, or long-term care facility, nor any agent or employee thereof who is in good faith acting within the scope of his or her employment or agency or who is acting in good faith in accordance with a living will, a durable power of attorney for health care, an advance directive for health care, a Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment form pursuant to Code Section 31-1-14, an order not to resuscitate, or the instructions of the patient or the patient’s lawful surrogate decision maker.

O.C.G.A. § 16-5-103. Exceptions to criminal liability

(a) An owner, officer, administrator, board member, employee, or agent of a long-term care facility shall not be held criminally liable for the actions of another person who is convicted pursuant to this article unless such owner, officer, administrator, board member, employee, or agent was a knowing and willful party to or conspirator to the abuse or neglect, as defined in Code Section 30-5-3, or exploitation of a disabled adult, elder person, or resident.
(b) A violation of this article shall not give rise to a private cause of action or civil remedies under subsection (b) or (c) of Code Section 16-14-6 against a long-term care facility or any owner, officer, employee, operator, or manager of such facility. Nothing in this subsection shall limit the criminal or civil remedies available to the state pursuant to state law.

O.C.G.A. § 16-5-104. Venue

For the purpose of venue under this article, any violation of this article shall be considered to have been committed:

(1) In any county in which any act was performed in furtherance of the violation; or
(2) In any county in which any alleged victim resides.

O.C.G.A. § 16-5-105. Applicability

(a) The use of a power of attorney as provided for in Chapter 6B of Title 10 shall not, in and of itself, absolve a person from prosecution under this article.
(b) This article shall be cumulative and supplemental to any other law of this state.

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