American Judges Association


Date of this Version



Court Review, Volume 53, Issue 2 (2017)


Copyright American Judges Association. Used by permission.


I didn’t know what elder abuse was when I agreed to become our office’s first dedicated elder-abuse prosecutor. It was 2001 and Norm Maleng, my boss and the elected prosecutor for King County, Washington, had decided it was time for our office to respond to this growing issue. He had seen Paul Greenwood, San Diego County’s elder-abuse prosecutor and a passionate advocate for abused elders, speak on the subject and was inspired to create a similar position here. At that time, there were only a handful of dedicated elder-abuse prosecutors in the country, most of them in California.

Maleng had the foresight to know that my job would involve more than simply prosecuting cases. My duties were threefold: to prosecute cases, to train first responders and other professionals to better recognize and report abuse, and to work on improving the coordination between the county agencies who respond to it.