Boarding house owner charged with mistreating elderly woman

Date: 2000-07-20

Journal News, The (Westchester County, NY)

STEVE LIEBERMAN

NEW CITY - A 51-year-old businessman, whose New Jersey boarding house for the elderly was closed by that state for unsanitary living conditions, was indicted yesterday in Rockland on felony charges involving the mistreatment of an 87-year-old woman who lived at his Pearl River facility.

Michael Culhane of New Jersey was accused of being responsible for the woman becoming hospitalized in January with malnutrition and ulcers and infections from bedsores developed at his Adare Manor boarding house at 118 S. Middletown Road, prosecutors said yesterday.

The woman ended up in the hospital for two weeks before being released to her family's care.

She also was dehydrated and suffering from senility, District Attorney Michael Bongiorno said yesterday after a three-count indictment was unsealed against Culhane.

"I would say this falls into the category of elder abuse in my book," Bongiorno said.

A grand jury indicted Culhane on charges of first-degree endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person and first-degree reckless endangerment, both felonies, and endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person, a misdemeanor.

The indictment resulted from a five-month investigation by Orangetown police Detective Thomas Hoffman and the District Attorney's Office.

Culhane, wearing jeans, a maroon sweatshirt and muddy boots, pleaded not guilty during his arraignment before Judge William Kelly. The judge ordered Culhane held in the county jail until he could post bail of either $75,000 bond or $25,000 cash.

Culhane's wife, Maureen, is scheduled to appear today for arraignment on charges resulting from the investigation, Kelly said during yesterday's court session. Bongiorno declined to comment on the case involving Maureen Culhane until after she appears in court.

Maureen Culhane is listed as president of Adare Manor Inc., while her husband is listed as vice president, Senior Assistant District Attorney Elaine Yacyshyn told Kelly yesterday.

Culhane's lawyer, Hollis Griffin, declined comment other than to tell Kelly he had been hired to advise the Culhanes after Bongiorno's office began subpoenaing Adare Manor's records in February.

The investigation into Adare Manor started after the 87-year-old woman was found malnourished by Pearl River firefighters responding to an alarm at the facility, Bongiorno said. The firefighters took her to Nyack Hospital for treatment.

"Our position is that they were responsible for her care,'' Bongiorno said, "and their lack of care resulted in her suffering injuries.''

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