SOUTHINGTON - A Southington man has been sentenced to two years in prison for “grossly neglecting” an elderly woman, leaving her in her own waste and without food or water for an extended period of time.
Michael Flaherty, 48, of 500 Pleasant St., accepted a plea deal on Monday, in Bristol Superior Court, pleading guilty under the Alford doctrine to one count of intentional cruelty to persons. He also admitted to violating his probation.
In exchange for the plea, charges of third-degree abuse and failure to appear were dropped.
An Alford plea means Flaherty denies at least some of the allegations, but acknowledges that there was a chance he could have been found guilty after a trial. State prosecutors had offered him two plea deals. The terms of the deal that was not accepted were not put on the record.
According to court documents, Flaherty held power of attorney over his mother-in-law and served as her caregiver in July 2017, when a family member visited her and found her lying in a bed, in her own feces and urine. The elderly woman, who was bedridden, had also not been given food or water for an extended period of time that went “beyond just a few hours,” state prosecutor Elizabeth Moseley said at the hearing Monday.
Moseley added that the woman had been “grossly neglected.”
Following his arrest in February 2018, Flaherty was charged with two counts of violation of probation. He was serving two different probations for 2017 convictions of driving under the influence and violation of conditions of release. He admitted to violating one of the probation sentences on Monday and, according to online court records, admitted to violating the other during a previous hearing in another judicial district.
In addition to missed appointments, Flaherty’s arrest was the basis for his probation violations, court papers said.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.