Casey Kasem's widow accused of elder abuse in wrongful death case

The mistreatment of senior citizens is a serious issue for many families all across the country. In some especially tragic cases, this mistreatment could lead to death. The children of radio star Casey Kasem believe that their father’s wife of 30 years, Jean Kasem, is at least partially responsible for his death. According to a recent report, the three children from a previous marriage, along with Mr. Kasem’s brother, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Jean for her alleged role in Casey’s death.

Casey Kasem, who was the host of the popular radio show “American Top 40,” died last year at the age of 82. Mr. Kasem suffered from a form of dementia and had a severe bedsore at the time of his death.

The lawsuit alleges that Jean’s neglect and physical abuse of Casey was a direct and proximate cause of his death. In addition to elder abuse, Jean is also accused of inflicting emotional distress on the children by preventing the children from seeing their father before his death. The lawsuit details many instances of alleged negligence, stating that Mr. Kasem was left in various hospitals for days on end in the months before his death, even though he was ready to be discharged. The lawsuit also states that Jean buried Mr. Kasem in an unmarked grave in Norway, going against Mr. Kasem’s wishes to be buried in Los Angeles.

Before Casey’s death, there had been an ongoing battle between Jean and the children over visitation access to Casey. A judge took away Jean’s decision-making authority with regards to Casey after her decision to move Casey from a facility in California to a friend’s home in Washington. Jean stated that she moved him to protect his privacy. Casey’s daughter Kerri Kasem assumed control of his medical care.

Earlier this year, prosecutors decided not to charge Jean with elder abuse, saying that they could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Jean’s actions led to Casey’s death. Mr. Kasem was in poor health at the time of his death and the bedsore alone was not enough to show negligence or abuse. As a result of this decision by the prosecution, Casey’s children decided to file a civil lawsuit. They hope that the lawsuit will hold Jean liable for her role in the death and raise awareness for elder abuse.

Source: USA Today, “Casey Kasem’s widow named in wrongful death suit,” Nov. 26, 2015