After four years, Delegate Dave Perry’s bill to make crime of abusing or neglecting an incapacitated adult a more serious offense in West Virginia has finally passed. There were seven or eight revisions, and even an effort made by fellow delegate John Overington. Eventually a final version was sent to Governor Joe Manchin stating that any caregiver who neglects such adults or knowingly allows someone else to do so is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $100 to $500. If abuse is present, then the penalty could be a jail term of 90 days to one year, or both. If abuse is intentional and malicious, then the crime is elevated to a felony with fine ranges from $100 to $1,000 along with a prison term of two to 10 years. When the injury is more severe then the fine can reach $5000, and the guilty party can face a prison sentence of between three to 15 years. The bill even goes on to state that if the injury is malicious and fatal, the sentence is a prison term only, that can reach up to 40 years. In the end Perry was quoted saying, “I was real pleased this bill passed. For the last two weeks, there were continued discussions and working and reworking on the bill.”
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