A 60-year-old Hamilton man was put behind bars Wednesday for slapping his 98-year-old mother across the face.
In addition to receiving 15 days of jail, Madis Jenkins was placed on probation and ordered to stay away from Manuella Jenkins, now 99 years old and residing in the Blackadar Community Care Centre in Dundas.
He must not contact her for the next 14 months without the written, revocable permission of herself or her power of attorney. “I’m of the view that a short, sharp jail sentence will bring home to Mr. Jenkins that his treatment of his mother in this fashion is not acceptable,” Ontario Court Justice Marjoh Agro said in supporting prosecutor Cheryl Gzik’s request for a custodial sentence. Gzik called the incident of elder abuse disturbing and unacceptable.
Jenkins, who has 10 prior convictions for alcohol-related offences, including his latest one in 2001 for driving while disqualified, defended himself in a March 19 trial. But he called no evidence and was found guilty of one count of assault in connection with the April 7, 2011, slap at the Dundas nursing home. Court heard that Jenkins became embroiled in an argument with his mother, which culminated in the assault. Nursing home staff intervened and escorted Jenkins from the premises.
His mother, who still resides at the centre and has since shown signs of dementia, suffered no lasting injury. But Jenkins continued to deny striking his mother. He told a probation officer in his pre-sentence report that he wanted no further contact with her, and described her as a “psychopath” because she didn’t show him affection while he was growing up.
Jenkins told court Wednesday he took care of his mother for 17 years and no violence occurred. But he did admit to yelling at her at the nursing home. “I am ashamed of my behaviour,” he said. Agro asked if he had anything else to say to the convicted man, who is estranged from his mother, sister, his own children and their mother. He said simply, “I do love my mother.” But Agro said public denunciation of such action was required. “
Without question, Mr. Jenkins, in assaulting his mother, assaulted an individual who was and remains in a vulnerable position. Vulnerable because of her age, vulnerable because of her health and vulnerable because of the special relationship of parent and child. Irrespective of the ages of the parent and child, there is an emotional vulnerability. “Society cannot tolerate the abuse of its oldest members, particularly when an abuse is visited upon its oldest members by their own children,” the judge added.