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Elder abuse victims call for change

Area residents impacted by the elder abuse case at Good Samaritan Society of Albert Lea in 2008 are speaking out in hopes of changing Minnesota legislation.

Members of the Families Against Nursing Home Abuse support and advocacy group testified Monday in a committee hearing to change the state’s survival law. The law presently requires that a personal injury case be dropped if a victim dies of unrelated causes.

“It is a law that in our opinion rewards the wrong-doers and allows no justice for those who have been injured,” said Jan Reshetar, one of the co-founders of the support group.

If it is passed, the law would allow families to file personal injury lawsuits against their abusers in Minnesota, even after their family member dies.

Reshetar’s mother-in-law was one of 15 residents found to be abused at the nursing home at the hands of two teenage nursing assistants.

According to police, the nursing assistants spit water on residents, poked them in their breasts, antagonized them and inappropriately touched them, among other actions. The residents suffered from mental degradation conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Reshetar said though it may be too late to change legislation for their own loved ones, they hope it can help others who are going through a similar situation.

“There’s nothing that’s ever going to help what we went through,” she said. “What we’re trying to do is stop them from doing it to anybody else. We know this goes on across the country, day after day after day.”

She said she talked about what all the local families went through after the abuse and the need for accountability.

She noted the positive feedback the group received from the committee and thanked the people of the community who have supported them.