(1) Any person who abuses or neglects a vulnerable adult under circumstances likely to produce great bodily harm or death is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than ten (10) years and not more than a twenty-five thousand dollar ($25,000) fine.
(2) Any person who abuses or neglects a vulnerable adult under circumstances other than those likely to produce great bodily harm or death is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(3) Any person who exploits a vulnerable adult is guilty of a misdemeanor, unless the monetary damage from such exploitation exceeds one thousand dollars ($1,000), in which case the person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than ten (10) years and not more than a twenty-five thousand dollar ($25,000) fine.
(4) As used in this section:
(a) “Abuse” means the intentional or negligent infliction of physical pain, injury or mental injury. Intentional abuse shall be punished under subsection (1) or (2) of this section depending upon the harm inflicted. Abuse by negligent infliction shall only be punished under subsection (2) of this section.
(b) “Caretaker” means any individual or institution that is responsible by relationship, contract or court order to provide food, shelter or clothing, medical or other life-sustaining necessities to a vulnerable adult.
(c) “Exploitation” or “exploit” means an action which may include, but is not limited to, the unjust or improper use of a vulnerable adult's financial power of attorney, funds, property or resources by another person for profit or advantage.
(d) “Neglect” means failure of a caretaker to provide food, clothing, shelter or medical care to a vulnerable adult, in such a manner as to jeopardize the life, health or safety of the vulnerable adult.
(e) “Vulnerable adult” means a person eighteen (18) years of age or older who is unable to protect himself from abuse, neglect or exploitation due to physical or mental impairment which affects the person's judgment or behavior to the extent that he lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate or implement decisions regarding his person, funds, property or resources.
(5) Nothing in this section shall be construed to mean a person is abused, neglected or exploited for the sole reason he is relying upon treatment by spiritual means through prayer alone in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination; nor shall the provisions of this section be construed to require any medical care or treatment in contravention of the stated or implied objection of such a person.
(6) Nothing in this section shall be construed to mean that an employer or supervisor of a person who abuses, exploits or neglects a vulnerable adult may be prosecuted unless there is direct evidence of a violation of this statute by the employer or supervisor.
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