Los Angeles County prosecutors declined today to charge radio icon Casey Kasem’s widow with abuse or neglect of her late husband.
In a charge evaluation worksheet, Deputy District Attorney Belle M. Chen wrote that “based on Jean Kasem’s continuous efforts to ensure that Mr. Kasem was medically supervised, this investigation is declined for filing based on insufficient evidence of elder abuse or neglect.”
“From the time she took possession of her husband on May 7th (2014) until he was taken to the hospital on June 1st, Mr. Kasem was under regular medical supervision,” the prosecutor wrote in the two-page document. “The development of a bedsore by itself is insufficient evidence of abuse or neglect because of Mr. Kasem’s overall weakened health.”
Chen noted that the Los Angeles Police Department “concurs with our evaluation and conclusions.”
Kasem’s daughter Kerri Kasem said “my family is very sad to learn the Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey has decided not to file charges against Jean Kasem.
“We did everything we could to save my dad at the end of his life, including getting an emergency court order for conservatorship.
“But we were too late. My father’s second wife Jean had done everything she could to keep our father from us while not providing the quality care that he and every other senior in our society deserves.”
Kerri Kasem said she was “hopeful that the prosecutors in Kitsap County, Washington, where my father was taken against his will and later died, will do the right thing and file charges against Jean.”
Jean Kasem had been involved in a lengthy battle with her stepchildren over the former “America’s Top 40” host’s medical care before his death in Gig Harbor, Washington, last June 15 at the age of 82.
The disc jockey’s second wife was accused by her husband’s children from his first marriage of hiding their bedridden father, who had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia.
She challenged doctors’ recommendations to withhold artificial nutrition and hydration from her husband, but a judge eventually authorized Kerri Kasem to remain as temporary conservator and to allow her to decide whether to withhold nutrition and hydration from her father, the document notes.
Kasem is best remembered as the longtime host of the weekly American Top 40 countdown on radio stations — as he put it — “across the country and around the world on great radio stations.” Across Europe and Asia, American Top 40 was carried by the U.S. Armed Forces Radio Network radio stations, and millions of people worldwide were introduced to rock and roll on Kasem’s show.
He was also the voice of Shaggy on the “Scooby Doo” animated TV series.
He worked up and down the dial at stations in San Francisco, Cleveland and Buffalo, New York. He was one of the DJs at L.A. station KRLA from 1963-69.