Cromwell man arrested after person left in chair for weeks
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Cromwell man arrested after person left in chair for weeks

Oct 13, 2023

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CROMWELL, Conn — A Cromwell attorney, 66-year-old Steven Donen, was arrested on cruelty and abuse charges after a woman was found at his home living in "deplorable and unsanitary conditions." Police said the woman hadn't moved from a recliner in their living room for weeks and had not been fed for several days. Authorities said she has multiple sclerosis and missed several dialysis appointments before her doctor called for a welfare check. That doctor told police she had missed a total of eight appointments, and needed that treatment to save her life.

On Friday, July 28th, police initiated a welfare check at Donen's home at the Skyview apartments in Cromwell. When officers arrived, Donen's arrest warrant explains that the victim was found discovered living in deplorable and unsanitary conditions. The victim told police that she had not moved from a chair in about two weeks and had not eaten for several days. She was taken to a local hospital for treatment and remained there as of Tuesday.

Cromwell police said the home exhibited severe hoarding conditions and evidence that Donen was withholding critical care from the victim.

Police describe the home as uninhabitable with holes in the ceiling and dripping water along with garbage piling up in the room.

"The allegations that are in the paperwork contain a lot of inaccuracies and a lot of misstatements, and a lot of overblown statements," said William Beccaro, Donen’s Attorney. "I'm in active discussions with the state's attorney about that, we're having a good dialogue and I look forward to a positive and speedy resolution that satisfies everyone.

Donen appeared in court on Tuesday, facing a Middletown judge for the first time since his arrest. He said nothing as he walked out of the courtroom, released on bond.

An attorney from Cromwell, Steve Donen (66), is accused of abusing and neglecting his live-in girlfriend. Donen appeared in front of a judge today for the first time since his arrest. Details on the arrest warrant and what his attorney says about the case at 5/6 on @FOX61News

In the meantime, the court papers revealed that this is the second time someone has called for a welfare check on Donen's live-in girlfriend.

The arrest warrant reveals that police had visited the home after neighbors called with concerns about the victim's well-being in November 2022. One neighbor told police he suspected there was domestic abuse between the victim and Donen because "He often heard the accused yelling and also heard loud noises which he described as 'thuds' coming from the victim's apartments." Police arrived at the apartment then, noticed the victim seemed confused and did not know what day of the week it was. The officer reported the apartment was extremely dirty and smelled of urine. The victim was sent to the hospital for evaluation. The case was referred to the Department of Elderly Services at that time.

On Monday, the 31st, Donen was charged with Cruelty to Persons, Abuse 2nd Degree, Reckless Endangerment 2nd Degree, Assault on an Elderly person in the third degree, and Assault in the third degree. He was being held on a $50,000 bond but is now out on bond after his Tuesday court appearance.

When asked if this is something Beccaro thinks his client would do, since the two have known each other since college, he said "Absolutely not."

Beccaro went on to say, "I am frankly a little dismayed at some of the paperwork that I read. And I look at the totality of the circumstances, statements I've gotten from my client, statements I've gotten from friends and family, and they don't square with the paperwork.

In the meantime, neighbors are shaken up to find out that one of their own has been accused of these crimes.

“It is sad. He’s our neighbor," said one man, who did not want to reveal his name.

Another neighbor said she was shocked to hear this happened right at home.

“Most people keep to themselves but it’s very, you know it’s a quiet neighborhood, people walk their dogs with children, young families. People are always walking around," she said. "That’s sad. It’s very sad.”

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The CT Department of Social Services, Cromwell Department of Senior Services and the Cromwell Health Department were all notified of this case.

If you suspect someone is a victim of elder maltreatment, you can contact Protective Services for the Elderly program at the CT Department of Social Services toll-free at 1-888-385-4225. That local hotline is open during normal business hours, Monday through Friday.

If you need to make a call after hours, call 211 and they will find help.

If someone is in a life-threatening situation, however, call 911.

In the meantime, Donen is expected to be back in court on Aug. 18th.

Julia LeBlanc is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Doug Stewart is the Senior Digital Content Producer at FOX61 News. He can be reached at [email protected].


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