March 4, 2011

Mickey Rooney Speaks of Elder Abuse to Senate Panel

‘My money was taken and misused,’ the actor testified

Veteran actor Mickey Rooney on Wednesday urged elderly victims of abuse to speak up to anyone who will listen and described to a Senate panel his own suffering at the hands of a family member.

"If elder abuse happened to me, Mickey Rooney, it can happen to anyone," the 90-year-old actor said in testimony to the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

According to Reuters, Rooney accused his stepson Christopher Aber of intimidating and bullying him and blocking access to his mail. The documents also alleged Aber deprived Rooney of medications and food.

"My money was taken and misused. When I asked for information, I was told that I couldn't have any of my own information," Rooney told the committee. "I was literally left powerless."

Rooney rose to fame as a child star in the 1930s and 1940s when he made more than a dozen Andy Hardy movies. He appeared frequently alongside Judy Garland and, in his heyday, was one of Hollywood's biggest stars, receiving a junior Oscar in 1938.

Rooney continued to work in movies and television into his late 80s, appearing in the 2006 film comedy "Night at the Museum," among other works.

Rooney told the Senate committee he suffered in silence for years because "I couldn't muster the courage to seek the help I knew I needed."

He urged elderly victims to speak out whenever they could, Reuters reports.

"Please, for yourself, end the cycle of abuse and do not allow yourself to be silenced any longer," he said.

According to Reuters, Rooney eventually won a court order handing control of his affairs over to a Los Angeles attorney and obtained a restraining order against his stepson, who was ordered by the court to stay at least 100 yards from Rooney and his home.

In testimony to the Senate panel, Rooney suggested Congress enact legislation strengthening the law enforcement response to allegations of elder abuse.

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