Broadcasting legend Casey Kasem’s children and their fight to see their ailing father before he died inspired a bill signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The legislation, developed by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Glendale, provides access for adult children who wish to visit a sick parent and offers legal recourse for children who are denied access by their parent’s spouse or another family member.
“Conflict among family members is the last thing our loved ones want to see as they approach their final hours,” Gatto said. “I hope this bill will help decrease the heartache and stress of families already facing difficult circumstances.”
Gatto said he was inspired by Kerri Kasem, who was denied visitation rights to her father, who died June 15, 2014, in Gig Harbor Washington at the age of 82.
“AB 1085 will provide hope to families experiencing isolation of a loved one by giving the court a way to provide visitation,” Kasem said, thanking Gatto for bringing more awareness to the issue of elder abuse.
The law gives judges authority to grant a conservator the power to enforce a senior’s right to visitors, calls and personal mail. It also requires caretakers to give notice of an elder’s death to certain family members.
Kasem’s three children from his first marriage accused his second wife of hiding the bedridden radio icon, who had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia.
In May, Los Angeles County prosecutors declined to charge Kasem’s widow with abuse or neglect of her late husband, saying the onetime “America’s Top 40” host was under regular medical supervision and there was insufficient evidence of any abuse.
Kerri was ultimately appointed as her father’s conservator and the children were with him when he died.
— City News Service