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Ex-adult foster care operator apologizes.

Byline: Chelsea Gorrow The Register-Guard

A 63-year-old Florence man told a judge in Lane County Circuit Court Friday that he is sorry, as he took responsibility for not giving a patient of his adult foster home her pain medications, even though, according to the state Department of Justice, he had previously claimed in documen tation to have done so.

Jerry Branson is just a "bit player" in an overarching criminal investigation by the state that includes his son and daughter-in-law, the prosecutor told Judge Doug Mitchell. Son Chris Branson is charged with three counts of third-degree sexual abuse and has been released from the Lane County Jail on bail. Daughter-in-law Lorraine Carr remains in custody. She is charged with first-degree criminal mistreatment and two counts of falsifying business records.

Both will appear in court April 22.

Department of Justice prosecutor Jodie Bureta said she did not know what happened to the pain medication that was supposed to be given to a client of Branson's facility in Florence, but in March 2014, the victim was admitted to the hospital. She suffers from a number of disabilities, Bureta said. At the hospital, the victim told authorities she had been denied her medication for pain, although records at the adult foster home showed she had been given the medication, according to the state. The hospital did a toxicology screening and discovered no pain medication in her system.

Jerry Branson's recently deceased wife was at the center of the investigation but died last year.

Branson, who was in a wheelchair in the courtroom and carried a cane, appeared to provide an explanation for the missing pain medication when he told the judge his wife had been acting strangely about a year ago. He said, looking back, he should have known something was wrong, but when she finally was taken to the hospital it was discovered she had terminal pancreatic cancer and had three months to live. Branson said his wife was in extreme pain and called the ordeal horrible to watch.

He told the judge he lost his business, his house and his wife in the past year, while acknowledging his name was on the business license and therefore it was his responsibility to run the facility.

Mitchell accepted Branson's guilty plea to one count of criminal mistreatment, and dismissed two counts of falsifying business records. The judge sentenced Branson to 14 days in jail, with credit for time served, meaning he will not have to serve any additional time in jail.

He is not allowed to work as a caregiver anymore, the judge said, and wished Branson the best of luck.

Meanwhile, Christopher Scott Branson and his wife, Lorraine Rodriguez Carr, soon will face a judge for more serious charges. They, too, worked for the care facility that was run by Branson's parents. The state prosecutor said the charges of sexual abuse against Chris Branson are related to the same victim who was denied pain medication by Jerry Branson.

The adult foster home has been shut down and has lost its license to operate.

Follow Chelsea on Twitter @chelseagorrow. Email chelsea.gorrow@registerguard.com.

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Title Annotation:Crime; He acknowledges a patient under his care wasn't provided medication she needed
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Apr 11, 2015
Words:521
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