A Burlington woman and her daughter authorities said abused a mentally handicapped man they were supposed to be caring for were placed on probation for five years during separate hearings Monday morning.
District Court Judge John Wright said the sentences for Cindy Dameron, 54, and Jodi Dameron, 35, were intended to allow the women to promptly pay back the $50,000 they are accused of stealing from their victim.
Wright said if the women were sent to prison, they could be paroled in less than two years.
"You're going to have a lot of money to pay back along with your mother," Wright told Jodi Dameron.
The sentences met fierce disagreement from at least seven officials from the Des Moines County Health Department and Area Agency for Aging, all of whom attended the sentencing hearings.
Since they were not considered victims, a reading of a collective statement from the officials was not allowed.
"We are sometimes very frustrated because we see that 'systems' don't take this seriously as we hope they would," the statement said.
"We strongly believe that rendering a sentence of probation for their crime against Robert L. Luth (victim) sends the wrong message to elders, their families and the community at large.
'The message would be that it is okay to financially exploit an elder because the most that could happen to you is that you will get probation."
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Judge's Ruling Upsets Officials