Elder abuse suspect sentenced
A Prineville caregiver who was arrested last week for multiple elder abuse crimes was sentenced to jail time and probation last Monday.
Shawna Mohning, 50, pleaded no contest to first-degree criminal mistreatment, computer crime and first-degree theft, all of which are Class C felonies. She was sentenced to 30 days in jail, with credit for time served, and three years of probation. In addition, she can no longer work as a caregiver and must pay restitution to the victim.
Prineville police began an investigation into the abuse on April 23 Officer Jonathan Adkins, who led the investigation, spent several weeks combing through bank records of an elderly woman whom Mohning had cared for nearly four years.
The investigation revealed Mohning had stolen several thousand dollars from the victim for her own personal gain, including applying for loans and using the victim's personal information. She was arrested on May 15 and lodged in Crook County Jail with bail set at $100,000.
According to Crook County District Attorney Wade Whiting, the sentence Mohning received was based on her lack of a prior criminal history and felony sentencing guidelines adopted by the Oregon legislature.
The victim's daughter, Florida resident Susie Maxham, is aware of the sentencing guidelines, but likened the penalties to a slap on the wrist.
"I thought she got off way too easy for the amount of stress, manipulation and sheer negligence and lack of caring toward my mother," she said.
Maxham noted that the court case only addressed crimes that occurred between October 2017 and April 2020, because that was when Mohning opened a joint account with the victim and left proof of her crimes. However, Mohning was initially hired by family through the State of Oregon to care for her during the summer of 2016.
"She methodically and purposely lied in wait in the beginning until she saw her opening to go in and take over my mom's entire life," Maxham said. "She stole her identity ... she worked every angle possible to find as much money as possible that my mom had in her name."
Maxham added that Mohning convinced the victim to open the joint bank account by telling her she was incapable of caring for her own affairs, and withheld medication for an undisclosed illness, which accelerated the victim's mental decline.
She added that Mohning would not let family visit her alone and stayed in the room and "coached the conversation along," so that her crimes would go undetected. Maxham said she and other family members initially had no idea any abuse was taking place.
During the sentencing hearing, Maxham was disgusted by Mohning's demeanor.
"Everybody in the courtroom noticed that she had no remorse for what she did," she said.
The victim is now recovering and living with family. And while her family is dissatisfied with the severity of Mohning's sentence, Maxham is pleased that it will keep her out of the caregiving profession in the future.
"She hopefully can never do this to anybody else," she said.
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