San Diego

Man Charged for Keeping Elderly in Trashed, Infested Living Facility

A dilapidated independent living facility in the College Area has been shut down after nearly a dozen elderly and disabled residents were found to be living among piles of trash and with rat feces in their beds, the San Diego City Attorney's Office said Thursday. 

Mark Rogers, 59, the owner of the facility on Ewing Street just off Montezuma Road, was charged with 22 misdemeanor counts, including one count of willful cruelty to an elder and three counts of unlawful maintenance of a public nuisance. 

The majority of the 11 residents living at the facility were elderly or dependent adults; one used a wheelchair. 

Inspectors made at least six stops to the home since launching their investigation in November 2018. 

On two of those visits, one of the facility's disabled residents was rushed to the hospital after investigators found in "grave" condition -- unable to move in a bed surrrounded by trash and dirty clothing, City Attorney Mara Elliott said. 

The house was filled with cockroaches, bed bugs and rodent feces, prosecutors said. Toxic gas was leaking from an improperly installed water heater and the house itself was falling apart and smelled of urine, according to prosecutors. 

Rogers is also accused of using residents as labor around the home. The City Attorney's Office said he enlisted at least two to replace fences and tear down structures for little money.

Then, he submitted fake invoices to the property manager to reimburse him for thousands of dollars worth of repairs, prosecutors said.  

After Rogers' arraignment on Tuesday, he was released on his own recognizance but is expected back in court on October 10. The judge ordered him to surrender his handgun and issued a restraining order for the hospitalized resident. 

Elliott said the investigation was part of their crackdown on independent living facilities that violate health and safety laws. They urged anyone who suspects elder or dependent care abuse to call their local law enforcement immediately. 

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