For release on February 4, 2013
Charles Huang, Deputy District Attorney
Family Violence Division
LAST SAN JOSE DEFENDANT PLEADS TO NEGLECTING DISABLED RESIDENTS
The last defendant of a San Jose family has pleaded guilty to felony charges of abusing dependent adults who were found last year in a dog feces-fouled “care” home. Investigators located 13 mentally disabled adults in the Cortona Avenue residence, malnourished, beaten and forced into manual labor.
Last week’s no contest plea by Kathy Le, 42, brings to an end the criminal case against the family, who face sentencing on March 19. They pleaded to dependent adult abuse felonies, resisting arrest and animal neglect charges, based on the packs of dogs who roamed through the squalid house. Inside the home, police found neglected residents who had been forced to stay in their rooms most of the day and denied toilet paper and regular bathing.
The defendants, Jennifer Ngo, 63, Charles Nguyen, 25, and Le, face up to four years each in state prison. Margaret Ngo, 27, was sentenced last year to time served, almost a year in county jail. Defendant George Nguyen died late last year in custody.
“For years, they irresponsibly, dangerously subjected vulnerable victims to substandard human conditions,” Deputy District Attorney Charles Huang said. “Now they must all take responsibility and be held accountable by the court.”
On May 31, 2012, police raided the home, concerned about complaints that the residents were being neglected and held against their will. Officers found locks on the refrigerator door and squalor. The residents, who were sleeping on mattresses, looked as through they had been severely neglected. Police removed the residents from the home into Adult Protective Custody. More than 30 dogs were taken away by Animal Control. The residents, who suffer from schizophrenia and other severe disorders, told investigators they were kept in their small rooms virtually all day. Their clothes were washed once a month, the day they were seen by a doctor. The victims reported that their Social Security checks were being taken by the defendants.
A day after being taken from the home, three victims were taken from Valley Medical Center back to the Cortona home. In at least one instance, Kathy Le, posed as the victim’s niece to get custody. The victims were at the house for about a month before police came a second time, forced entry and again removed the residents. Officer found 21 more dogs in the home.
Now in licensed care facilities or back with their families, the adults held at the home are now thriving, gaining weight and are no longer afraid to leave the threshold of their rooms.