SCRANTON — A woman from Lackawanna County faces assault charges after authorities say she was caught in the act of abusing her elderly mother on a web cam she set up.
The daughter is Carolyn James of Dickson City. She was the sole caretaker for her 96-year-old mother Mary who’s suffering from stage 4 Alzheimer’s disease. She was arraigned in Scranton Tuesday as a result of what prosecutors saw in web cam video
It’s how they obtained the video that may be most surprising.
Carolyn James told prosecutors that while she was at work she would go online to check up on her 96-year-old mother using a web cam.
But police say that live stream of video from James’ living room ended up on the computer screen of a man in Chicago.
According to court papers, the man in Chicago watched as James abused her mother who is incapacitated with Alzheimer’s disease. Prosecutors decided not to release the video to the public, but a transcript was included in court papers.
James is seen repeatedly hitting her mother in the head and neck and saying, “Don’t you act up tonight!”
Less than a minute later James pulls her mother by her hair and yells, “You son of a (deleted)! Who do you think you are?”
James then yells, “I’m going to mangle you, you witch! You want a broken arm? I’ll break it!”
“I cried when I saw the video. It’s horrific. I’ve dealt with a family member who had Alzheimer’s and it brings tears to my eyes that somebody would be treated like that,” said Lackawanna County ADA Suzanne Tierney.
Tierney charged James with simple assault, neglect, and terroristic threats.
James was released on $25,000 bail. She told prosecutors the video isn’t what it seems, but while leaving court in Scranton she didn’t have anything to say.
“My client has nothing to say at this time, other than she’s appreciative of the folks taking care of her mother right now,” said James’ attorney Chris Caputo.
Carolyn James was ordered to stay away from her mother.
Mary James was taken into protective custody. Prosecutors say she didn’t have any serious injuries. So, the alleged abuse could have gone unnoticed if that man in Chicago hadn’t gone online at the exact moment he did.
“I’m thankful that we were able to do something about it. There’s no telling how long this has been going on or if this was a one-time thing,” Tierney added.