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Mickey Rooney: I Was Abused

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ROONEY

WASHINGTON — Actor Mickey Rooney told Congress on Wednesday that he was left powerless by a family member who took and misused his money.

"I felt trapped, scared, used and frustrated," Rooney told a special Senate committee considering legislation to curb abuses of senior citizens. "But above all, when a man feels helpless, it's terrible."

The 90-year-old film and television star told lawmakers that elder abuse comes in various forms, including physical and emotional. In his case, he described the abuse as financial.

In his testimony, Rooney did not identify the family member he contends abused him. But he has obtained a restraining order from a judge in Los Angeles keeping his stepson, Chris Aber, away from him until an April 5 court hearing.

Rooney has accused Aber in court filings of withholding food and medicine and meddling in his personal finances. Attempts by The Associated Press to find a working phone number for Aber have been unsuccessful.

Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., who chairs the Special Senate Committee on Aging, said the elderly are particularly vulnerable because they are "often fragile" and their abusers usually stand little chance of getting caught.

Rooney began his film career in the 1920s and has appeared in scores of feature films and TV shows, including the musicals "Babes in Arms" (1939) and "Strike Up the Band" (1940) and the Andy Hardy film series. He was nominated for an Academy Award four times, including a supporting actor nomination for his role in "The Black Stallion" (1979). He received an honorary Oscar in 1982.