Athens woman charged with elder abuse after allegedly assaulting mother


Jodi Lee Staruch

ByAn Athens woman was arrested last week for allegedly assaulting and abusing her 80-year-old mother, according to an Athens-Clarke County police report.

Police learned of the abuse at about 1 p.m. June 19 when an anonymous person called to report finding the elderly woman sitting in a car and yelling for help, according to the report.

The victim told a responding officer that she lived with her daughter, 51-year-old Jodi Lee Staruch, who had a drinking problem and was abusive to her almost every day, according to the report.

On this particular day, the victim said that during an argument with her daughter, she went into a bathroom where Staruch followed and punched her in the face, according to the report.

Staruch then allegedly threw her mother to the ground and doused her with a glass of water. After Staruch briefly left the bathroom, the victim reportedly tried keeping her from coming back in by holding the door closed while still on the ground. According to the police report, Staruch managed to break the door off of its hinges, but the collapsed door prevented her from entering.

The victim told police she remained on the floor for about half an hour before she was able to get up, go outside and get into her car where she sat calling for help for about 30 minutes until someone came to her.

The report noted that the victim had a lump on her forehead next to her eye, and her pants were wet.

National EMS personnel examined the victim, who declined being taken to the hospital for further treatment, the police report indicated.

When questioned, Staruch, who had an odor of alcoholic beverage on her breath, admitted that she had been drinking “some,” to include a beer and a martini, according to the report.

She denied assaulting her mother and said explained the lump oh the older woman's head by saying that she must have fallen in the shower.

When asked about the damaged bathroom door, Staruch “stumbled over several reasonings before settling on saying it had been like that since they moved in” and claimed that several other doors “had just fallen off.”

Staruch was arrested and charged with felony elder abuse, battery on a person 65 or older and criminal trespass/damage to property.

She was released from the county jail on Tuesday, upon posting own recognizance bonds totaling $6,000. The bonds came with special conditions, according to the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office, which did not indicate what those conditions were.

Anyone who is in an abusive relationship can seek advice and services by calling Project Safe’s 24-hour hotline at (706) 543-3331, or by visiting http://www.project-safe.org.

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