Cesar Ulloa, a former employee at the upscale Calabasas Silverado Senior Living Center, is in trial this week. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office charged Ulloa with seven counts of elder abuse and one count of torture for abusing and mistreating the center’s elderly patients.
Elder abuse is a “wobbler” which means that the prosecutor has the discretion to charge the offense as a misdemeanor or a felony. However, Penal Code 206 PC, California’s torture law is a violent felony that subjects Ulloa to a life sentence if convicted.
Witnesses testified that Ulloa engaged in “wrestling” type-moves with the patients, many of whom lacked the mental and/or physical capacity to report the abuse. Some of the reports include accounts that Ulloa jumped off a dresser and landed knees first onto a patient’s stomach, that he body-slammed a female patient, that he severely beat a mute patient, and that he used one patient’s arm to hit another patient to encourage a fight.
If confirmed, the elder abuse charges are a given. It is the California Penal Code 206 PC “torture” charge that will be more difficult to prove. In order to convict Ulloa of torture, the D.A. must prove that Ulloa intended to cause “cruel or extreme pain and suffering” for personal satisfaction.
Ulloa’s criminal defense attorney is arguing that the charges are based on false allegations from co-workers who were jealous of Ulloa’s quick success within the facility.