New Minn. law raises penalties for abuse

Those who neglect vulnerable adults or mistreat children will face tougher penalties under a new Minnesota law taking effect Wednesday.

The law creates felony crimes for intentionally depriving a vulnerable adult and causing physical harm to a child. Both stem from cases of abuse, including elderly people left uncared for and a child chained to a crib.

Purposely depriving a vulnerable adult of food, clothing, shelter or medical care is now punishable with up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000 or both.

The new law makes exceptions for caregivers in understaffed facilities, employers who don't sanction the abuse and caregivers who are caring for another vulnerable adult.

Child mistreatment resulting in "demonstrable bodily harm" can now bring up to two years in prison.

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