Mickey Rooney Abuse Testimony: Elder Abuse 'Can Happen to Anyone'

Tuesday, 08 Apr 2014 06:39 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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Mickey Rooney spent virtually his entire life in show business, becoming one of the biggest stars of his era, but one of his final appearances was standing up against financial elderly abuse that he experienced firsthand.

Rooney was 90 when testified in front of Congress in 2011 about financial elderly abuse, telling legislators that he spoke from personal experience.

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"I felt trapped, scared, used and frustrated," Rooney told a Senate committee, according to The Los Angeles Times. "When a man feels helpless, it's terrible."

A month before the hearing, Rooney got a restraining order against his stepson Chris Aber, whom he accused of withholding food and medicine from him while trying to gain control of his assets, the Times said.

"My money was stolen from me, by someone close," Rooney told Congress, according to Salon. "My money was taken and misused. When I asked for information, I was told that I couldn't have any of my own information. I was literally left powerless."

Rooney eventually settled with Aber and his wife for $2.8 million, who both denied wrongdoing, agreeing to say away from the movie star.

"If elder abuse happened to me, Mickey Rooney, it can happen to anyone," Rooney told Congress, though he never mentioned the Abers by name in his testimony.

Bob Blancato, the national coordinator at the Elder Justice Coalitional, said in a statement, according to the Consumer Reports, that Rooney's voice on the issue of financial elderly abuse helped get people's attention about the subject.

"Rooney's words are as relevant and compelling today as they were in 2011," Blancato said, according to Consumer Reports. "Advocates of elder justice are grateful for Rooney's courage and hope that progress can continue to be made at the national level to fight the epidemic of elder abuse in America."

Salon reported that information from the Department of Health and Human Services' National Center on Elder Abuse stated that the United States now has the largest number of people 65 and over at any time in its history, and that up to 10 percent of that group experienced some form of abuse last year.

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