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Elderly Gay California Man Sues County, Claiming Abuse

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An elderly gay man has filed a lawsuit against Sonoma County, California for forcibly separating him from his partner of 20 years – then selling off both the couple’s possessions. The county says they were trying to protect the man’s partner from him.

Clay Greene is 78 years old. In spring of 2008, Greene says his partner Harold Scull, who was 88, had a series of bad falls, related to his deteriorating health. After the last of these falls, Greene says Scull told him not to call the ambulance. Greene did anyway – and he says Scull was so angry he claimed that Greene had pushed him. This is where the problems begin.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is assisting local attorneys with Greene’s suit against the county. Staff attorney Melanie Rowen says that was when the county began separating the two.

Rowen: “at that point county workers excluded Clay from participating in Harold’s care, and that was wrong because Clay had a medical directive. But the county workers wouldn’t let him know where Harold was so they were isolated from each other during that time.”

After that, Rowen says the county successfully petitioned the court to gain conservatorship over Scull’s estate. The suit claims the county auctioned off almost a half million dollars worth of possessions from the home the two men rented. The suit claims the county then put both men into separate nursing homes, claiming they both suffered from dementia.

Greg Spaulding, an attorney working with the County on the suit, claims the county did everything it did “to protect” Scull from Greene – all stemming from that Scull’s initial complaint.

Spaulding:  “We believe we properly managed the situation to protect Harold scull in a domestic violence situation.”

But the Sonoma County DA told OutQ that no charges were ever filed, and police in the town of Sebastopol where the men lived, say no investigation ever took place. Rowen says Scull even recanted his statement, though she couldn’t confirm to whom. As for the property, Rowen says the county’s bookkeeping was ‘awful’ and there’s no record of where the money from the auctions actually went.

Spaulding says he believes the money from the auctions was “split” between the two men, with Scull’s half paying for his care until he died in August of 2008.

Greene’s suit against the county, the auction house and the nursing home where he was sent has 20 claims, including elder abuse, false imprisonment, and fraud.

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Written by OutQ News staff

April 20, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Posted in Elders, Law

Tagged with , ,

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