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Four people accused of neglecting mentally disabled residents at an uncertified group home were arraigned today, according to Deputy District Attorney Charles Huang. On July 2nd, police arrested five caretakers after finding 12 dependent adults living in a squalid house with rotting food, locked refrigerators, no running water and about 25 dogs. All five were out on bail but four were taken into custody again today after the judge raised their bail from $10,000 to $50,000. The defendants, Kathy Le, George Dac Nguyen, Jennifer Ngo, Charles Nguyen, and Margaret Ngo, were charged with dependent adult abuse and animal neglect on July 5, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.
The defendants were accused of beating, rarely bathing, and withholding food and toilet use from 12 dependent adults who suffer schizophrenia and other mental disorders. Prosecutors also allege that the defendants were taking the residents’ social security checks. Authorities first learned of the abuse on May 31, when family members of one disabled adult complained to San Jose police that they could not visit their relative at the home and were told that the relative did not even live at the care center. Initially unable to enter the home, police saw the resident inside and entered to discover abject conditions.
Residents were sleeping on mattresses and the home was filled with urine and feces from the 25 dogs, according to prosecutors. Residents there told investigators they were kept in their rooms all day and their clothes were only washed once a month, right before their monthly doctor’s appointment. None of the defendants, all of whom have hired private attorneys, entered a plea today, Huang said. Le was the only defendant who did not appear in court today, though her lawyer was present.
According to Huang, the adults who were removed from house and taken into Adult Protective Custody are now in licensed care facilities. The dogs were taken by Santa Clara County Animal Care and Control. Huang added that resident’s families and caretakers had informal care agreements with the defendants, whose neglectful “care facility” was not licensed. If convicted, the defendants could each face up to 18 years in prison. The defendants are scheduled to appear in court again on August 21.
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