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Mickey Rooney speaks out against elder abuse

March 2, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
In the world of show business, Mickey Rooney is a legend. But as he told a special Senate committee in Washington on Wednesday, he is also a victim of elder abuse.

At one time, Rooney was the biggest box office draw in America.

He can also boast the longest career in cinematic history having made hundreds of movies during 81 of his 90 years.

He was nominated for four Academy Awards and eventually received an honorary Oscar.

Rooney is in front of the camera again, but this time the drama is real.

"My daily life became unbearable," Rooney told a special Senate committee in Washington considering legislation to help curb elder abuse.

"The elder abuse happened to me, Mickey Rooney," he said emotionally. "When it happens, you feel scared. Even when I tried to speak up, I was told shut up, be quiet, you don't know what you're talking about."

Rooney told the committee he is a victim of financial abuse by a family member. He didn't name anyone, but he does have a restraining order against his wife's son.

"For years, I suffered silently," Rooney said. "I didn't want to tell anybody. I couldn't muster the courage and you have to have the courage to."

Rooney claims he's been embezzled out of more than $400,000.

He also said he was denied food due to a locked refrigerator, was left with only enough money for one pair of shoes and that his Oscar and Emmy are gone.

Rooney says he's now fighting for all victims of elder abuse, whether financial, emotional, sexual or just plain neglect.

"I'm asking you to stop this elderly abuse," he told the committee. "I mean stop it -- now."

Rooney's stepson, Chris Aber, denies any allegations of abuse and his attorneys say Aber looks forward to clearing his name.

Statistics show there are 3.5 million victims of elder abuse in America.