Attorney General And District Attorney Secure Conviction Of Caregiver For Criminal Mistreatment And Aggravated Theft
Attorney General Hardy Myers and Benton County District Attorney John M. Haroldson today announced the plea, conviction and sentencing of Kristy J. Belcher on one felony count of Criminal Mistreatment in the First Degree and one felony count of Aggravated Theft in the First Degree.
At the time of the crime, Belcher was a caregiver at Stoneybrook, an assisted living facility located in Corvallis, Oregon. Belcher would often be assigned to clean rooms, deliver meals, dress residents or act as standby for safety while residents showered and bathed. In October 2007, upon discovering that a resident's jewelry and cash were missing, a family member notified the facility and the Corvallis Police Department and subsequently found most of the missing jewelry in a local pawn shop.
In cooperation with Stoneybrook officials and the pawn shop owner, law enforcement officials were able to trace the sale of the jewelry back to Belcher. A subsequent search of Belcher's residence uncovered additional stolen jewelry from another Stoneybrook resident; in all, the total recovered stolen jewelry was valued at $47,000. Virtually all of the stolen jewelry was returned to the two residents.
"Today's conviction reaffirms that law enforcement agencies across the state are unified in working together to ensure that those who care for our most vulnerable citizens will be held accountable for their crimes," stated Myers.
"Elder abuse cases can be resource-intensive to investigate and prosecute, especially when the victims have a limited ability to tell us what happened. This case demonstrates that our office will aggressively prosecute elder abuse cases and will utilize all available resources, including our partnership with the Attorney General's office, to protect vulnerable Benton County citizens," stated Haroldson.
As a result of today's conviction, Benton County Circuit Court Judge Janet S. Holcomb ordered Belcher to serve a total of 30 days in jail and three years probation. Conditions of her probation will include 80 hours of community service, forfeiture of all jewelry obtained from the residence and payment of $300 in restitution. She is prohibited from employment in any capacity caring for the elderly or disabled and ordered to write a "heartfelt letter of apology" to the two victims.
The case was prosecuted jointly by the Benton County District Attorney's Office and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Oregon Department of Justice.
Stephanie Soden, (503) 378-6002