Two people are being charged with exploiting disabled women in an illegally operating personal care home in Rockdale County. The Sheriff's Office is still looking for the man and the woman. The woman, Tomeka Williams, is allegedly the head facilitator, and the man, Toney Powell is allegedly one of her employees.
Georgia takes any abuse - physical, emotional, financial, or sexual - of disabled adults very seriously. Abuse against disabled adults commonly includes assault, harassment, battery, intimidation, exploitation, identity fraud, theft by taking, rape, theft by deception, and many others.
The reality is that disabled adults are more susceptible to being taken advantage of, and therefore, the state has numerous laws in place to protect them such as the most well-known offense, neglect to a disabled person as well as many others.
Let's analyze the offense the two Georgians are being charged with - exploitation and intimidation of disabled adults in Georgia.
In Georgia, it's actually illegal to fail to report a case of abuse to a disabled person.
According to Georgia law, a disabled adult is anyone who is 18 years of age or above who is incapacitated or impaired (mentally or physically).
The Georgia Code defines exploitation and intimidation of disabled adults as:
- Knowingly and willfully exploiting a disabled adult, elder person, or resident;
- Willfully inflicting physical pain, physical injury, sexual abuse, mental anguish, or unreasonable confinement upon a disabled adult, elder person, or resident;
- Willfully depriving a disabled adult, elder person, or resident of essential services.
- Threatening, intimidating, or attempting to intimidate a disabled adult or elder person who is the subject of an investigation. It is also a crime to knowingly and willfully obstruct or in any way impede an investigation. (O.C.G.A. §16-5-102)
In order to be convicted of the offense listed above, the state of Georgia must demonstrate that the accused person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt including proving that he or she intended to commit the crime.
If convicted, the offense is considered a felony in Georgia. The penalty for conviction can include a fine up to $50,000, an imprisonment between one to twenty years, or both.
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, it's important for me to note that there are situations the wrong person gets accused or the facts get confused. It's vital to understand that just because someone is accused of a crime - it does not mean they are guilty. If you or a loved one has been accused of exploiting and intimidating disabled adults in the state of Georgia, contact us today. In order to protect your rights and your freedom, you will need a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney to best defend your case.