Northern California care home operators face abuse charges

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Owners of a Northern California care home accused of abandoning patients in a case that garnered national attention were charged Monday with elder abuse.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris charged owner Herminigilda Noveda Manuel and administrator Edgar Babael with felony charges of abandoning 14 patients at the financially struggling Valley Springs Manor facility in Castro Valley, south of Oakland. Each faces 17 years in prison and $84,000 fines if convicted.

State officials closed the home October 2013, and the two are accused of walking out on the patients, some of whom were mentally ill. A cook and janitor not trained for medical care said they helped the patients as best they could for at least two days before paramedics finally arrived. The cook and janitor stayed with the patients even though they hadn't been paid in weeks.

Orrin Grover, a lawyer who previously represented the home, didn't respond to an email inquiry Monday. A phone number provided by the California Bar Association was temporarily disconnected.

The charges were filed in Alameda County, where the home was located.

Manuel withdrew her attempts last year to keep her license to operate in California.