The Babes on Broadway star appeared before a Senate committee in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday (02Mar11) and urged the politicians to do what they could to make sure other elderly Americans don’t suffer the same fate he claims he has faced at the hands of his family members.
Rooney, 90, told the committee he felt “scared, disappointed… and angry” when one member of his family took control of his personal and financial affairs.
He said, “You can’t believe that it’s happening to you… For years I suffered silently. I didn’t want to tell anybody. I couldn’t muster the courage and you have to have courage. I needed help and I knew I needed it. Even when I tried to speak up, I was told to shut up and be quiet.”
Rooney has filed a restraining order against his stepson Christopher Aber and his wife, claiming they abused him emotionally and financially.
The actor called for Congress to pass a law that makes chronic elderly abuse a specific crime.
Fighting back tears, the film legend said, “I’m asking you to stop this elderly abuse. I mean to stop it. Now. Not tomorrow, not next month, but now.
And it appears Rooney’s plea has been heard loud and clear by the Senate – after the hearing, committee chairman Sen. Herb Kohl introduced legislation that would create an Office of Elder Justice help co-ordinate law enforcement response to chronic elder abuse.