Bill removing statute of limitations of elderly abuse, exploitation makesvoting file

Written by on July 3, 2024

With the support of his legislative colleagues, Democrat Senator Dwayne T.D. San Nicolas
successfully moved Bill No. 243-37 (COR) onto the third reading file during regular session on
July 2 at the Guam Congress Building in Hagåtña.

Bill 243-37 will remove the statute of limitations for financial and property exploitation of an
elderly person or individual with disability, should it pass into local law.

According to the National Council on Aging, up to five million older Americans are abused every
year, and the annual loss by victims of financial abuse is estimated to be at least $36.5 Billion.

The Council also states that in about 60% of elderly abuse incidents, the perpetrator is a family
member, usually the spouse or the children of the victim.

“The number of exploited elderly is astounding and justifies the creation of legislation to combat
this issue,” said Sen. San Nicolas, author of Bill 243-37, a first of its kind in the nation. “All of
these findings by the National Council on Aging are alarming, something which our manamko’
and persons with disabilities need to be protected from by putting the law on their side. Financial
exploitation of our manamko’ and individuals with disabilities is a heinous crime that should not
have a statute of limitations.”

If enacted into Guam law, this legislation will remove the statute of limitations in cases of elderly
and disabled individuals’ financial exploitation and abuse.

With this legislative measure, elderly
and individuals with disabilities, victims of financial exploitation and abuse, will be able to
pursue justice without the added worry of a deadline to file a lawsuit.

“As a government entity that serves the people, the Guam Legislature needs to enact legislation
that would protect and help the manamko’ and people with disabilities find justice in incidents of
financial exploitation and abuse,” he said.

Moreover, Guam Attorney General Douglas Moylan endorsed the bill during its public hearing on
April 1.

“It’s about time,” said Moylan at the April 1 public hearing. “In our court system, there are too
many of our manåmko’ that are being found out in guardianship cases and in probate cases that
their lifetime savings have been taken from them, especially from their own family members that
are ‘caregivers’. As we age everybody’s memories through the natural process become not as
sharp as they used to be. I applaud the sponsor of the bill, Senator San Nicolas, for taking up this
challenge. Our code is in need of protection right now. Our manamko are in need of protection
out there. They need to have the tools to do that. We, the AG’s office, fully endorse it.

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