Rhea County Man in Jail Charged With Elder Abuse
Tennessee now has a new law that provides special tools for dealing with elder abuse.
And a Rhea County man will be one of the first to end up in court following an incident last December.
DET. ROCKY POTTER, RHEA CO. SHERIFF’S DEPT. “Basically what happened was that we got a hotline call. And, uh, some residents in the trailer park said that a couple, an older couple, both of them had some medical issues, had been dropped off at an empty trailer, and that they had not scene the person that dropped them off—never did come back.”
According to state figures that happens a lot. But until the first of the year, there were ambiguous laws to deal with elder abuse.
This couple finally got help before it was too late.
DET. ROCKY POTTER “They were living there with no heat, no power, no food and the residents were trying to help them.’
The case, which happened in December, went immediately to the 12th Judicial District’s new Vulnerable Adult Protective Investigative Team.
It was formed by state law and went into effect in January.
It even provides a tip line.
Several agencies are represented and its members meet to discuss cases like this one.
DET. ROCKY POTTER “Most of the cases that we’ve received—we’ve probably had 12 to 14 cases since the Hotline started.
And there’ve been exploitations or, uh, medical needs or physical care, that’s not been proper by the care-giver, whether it be a professional caregiver or a family member.”
This couple, aged 58 and 67, is receiving care and treatment for mental and physical problems.
But their their son is facing serious charges.
Twenty six year old Matthew J. Savage Jr. was arrested on charges of vulnerable adult abuse and/or neglect.
He’s in jail on a $10,000 bond.
DET. ROCKY POTTER “In this case, it would be, it was uh, abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult, so that’s a D felony.”
The Vulnerable Adult Protective Investigative Team will be known as “VAPIT”.
To Report abuse, go to https://reportadultabuse.dhs.tn.gov or call 888-277-8366