Shock Video: 91-Year-Old NJ Mother Slapped, Shoved by Caregiver - NBC New York

Shock Video: 91-Year-Old NJ Mother Slapped, Shoved by Caregiver

Caretaker of 11 years began crying when confronted, family of victimized elderly woman claims, but denied treatment was abusive



    Surveillance video captures the horrific treatment a 91-year-old woman endured at the hands of her hired caregiver. (Published Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010)

    It is the video that two daughters want the whole world to see.

    Their 91-year-old mother, Catalina Obaldo, was seen on tape slapped, shoved, jammed and manhandled by her hired caregiver, 52-year-old Carmen Pereira, of Jersey City, N.J.

    "Heartbreaking it is to see your own mother abused by a person whom you trusted for so many years," Bernadina Samin, 68, said of the person who had been caring for her mom for the past 11 years.

    It was all caught on a computer camera that had been set up so family members overseas could talk with Obaldo's daughter, Cresencia Obaldo, 62, and still see their relative in the background.

    But it was only after some suspicious marks on Catalina that a son-in-law suggested they check the computer for any recordings that might explain what happen.

    They saw the video and say they confronted Pereira.

    "She kept crying and she kneeled on the floor and she said  to me 'I'm sorry...I love your mother,'" said Cresencia Obaldo. Obaldo said Pereira, however, denied any of the videotaped treatment unleashed on the woman with Alzheimers, diabetes, heart problems and other issues was abusive.

    When police were called in, they disagreed with Pereira.

    "I consider myself a pretty hardened individual," said Police Chief Thomas Comey, who noted, "and I have a tough time watching this video."

    Pereira faces multiple charges of aggravated assault with extreme indifference, neglect of a disabled person and endangering the welfare of an incompetent person, all of which are third-degree offenses.

    One investigator told NBCNewYork he fears that means that if convicted, Pereira will only serve probation and not any jail time.

    Police Chief Comey did have some advice for anyone about to engage a caregiver.

    "Research the company with the Better Business Bureau and state regulator," said Comey.

    He added that there should be an interview with the caregiver and a close check of his or her references.

    Comey also suggested additional precautionary measures.  "Buy a recording camera, and tell the caregiver" that it is there, so that the caregiver will be on best behavior.

    Sometimes that's the only way to find out if something is amiss. 

    "We just trusted this person and we overlooked our responsibility," said Samin.

    Follow Brian Thompson on Twitter @brian4NY