2011-10-27 / Local & State

Philadelphia Case Shows The Vulnerability Of Disabled Adults

By Maryclaire Dale
ASSOCIATED PRESS

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Advocates say the recent Philadelphia case involving four disabled adults found locked in a basement shows how vulnerable that population can be.

They say mentally challenged adults can be “walking targets” for predators, especially if they get Social Security benefits.

Four people are charged with kidnapping disabled adults and then abusing them. Police say the scheme stretched from Texas to Florida to Pennsylvania, and may involve more victims.

Linda Ann Weston is accused of being the ringleader. She is scheduled to make her first court appearance Monday in Philadelphia. Her daughter and boyfriend are also charged.

Psychologist Nora Baladerian works with disabled crime victims in Los Angeles. She says victims are abused for their Social Security checks, and also to be enslaved as laborers and sex workers.

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