Man arrested, accused in extreme case of elderly abuse

Man arrested, accused in extreme case of elderly abuse
Steven McDougle (Source: Shelby County Jail)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - An alleged extreme case of elderly abuse and neglect has landed one Memphis man behind bars.

Steven McDougle, 61, is facing serious charges after arriving with the victim at Methodist University Hospital Tuesday.

According to the police affidavit, the victim had extensive facial injuries, widespread infection, and the victim’s cast on her right leg was permanently attached to her skin.

The police officer also wrote in the affidavit that the victims’ socks appeared to have been on for such a long time that when they removed them skin would come off.

Police said McDougle identified himself as the victim’s caregiver.

He has been charged with domestic assault and gross negligence of a victim over the age of 60.

Experts say elderly abuse is certainly an issue in the Mid-South.

“As our population ages in just the sheer number of people who are older and experiencing some disabling condition, it does become a more prevalent issue," said Kim Daugherty, executive director of the Aging Commission of the Mid-South.

Daugherty says a new program called CREA or “Coordinated Response to Elder Abuse” offers financial assistance and support for elderly or disabled victims of crime.

Daugherty says on average the agency receives 75 to 100 referrals per month from Shelby County.

“It's really shocking when you think about that there are more people out there that we just don't know about,” said Daugherty.

In the case involving McDougle, it was a social worker who called authorities.

However it’s important to note that Tennessee law requires all residents, no matter their profession, to report suspicions of elderly abuse.

What are some signs of elder abuse? Check for unusual changes in behavior, isolation or anxiety and depression.

The Family Safety Center is a part of the coordinated effort to help fight elder abuse.

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