Elder abuse case postponed smoothly, unlike previous appearance | AspenTimes.com

Elder abuse case postponed smoothly, unlike previous appearance

Pitkin County Court proceedings on Tuesday were sober and quick in the case of a man accused of taking advantage of an elderly woman — a big difference from his last appearance in late March when security officials seized bottles of liquor from him at the courthouse entrance and the judge suspected he’d been drinking.

This time Nikolay Goranov, 59, was not physically present, and his attorney, Peter Rachesky, appeared remotely to ask to postpone his next court appearance until June 27. An 80-year-old woman’s children who live out of state accuse Goranov of domestic violence, elder abuse, and taking advantage of her for monetary gain.

Her son, who also appeared virtually, expressed his frustration with the pace of proceedings aimed at making a temporary protection order that was extended on Jan. 5 a permanent one and settling a complaint accusing Goranov of seizing control of the woman’s finances through deception and manipulation. He’s also accused of repeatedly violating the temporary restraining order.

“I don’t see why we can’t decide today,” the son said.

Judge Ashley Andrews said she certainly could understand his frustration, but Goranov’s attorney needed more time in negotiations with the District Attorney’s Office, and that was the defendant’s right.

At the end of a short, practiced, and friendly speech about constitutional rights, she granted the continuance. And docket day proceeded to the next case. No mention was made of the break from routine of the previous appearance, nor references to alcohol, chewing gum, whether the judge demonstrated bias in her observations while negotiating through the encounter, nor testy exchanges with Goranov’s attorney then.

The complaint against Goranov said he and the woman had a romantic relationship and had lived together in her Aspen house, and he had become her caretaker “by force.” The complaint accused Goranov of inflicting emotional abuse on the mother. While not citing any instances of physical violence toward the mother, the complaint alleged he withheld medical prescriptions from her.

Goranov had been a negative force in the mother’s life since 2021, the complaint said, when he took control of the mother’s financial accounts, passwords, would only allow her to access her accounts in his presence, and padlocked one her home’s bedrooms.

At issue is whether to make a temporary restraining order from December a permanent one.

On Dec. 27, the son and daughter were court-appointed “emergency co-guardians” in order to have control over the mother’s living and travel decisions, according to court papers. Stephanie Kelly Bergner of Carbondale is counsel for the mother’s children in their protection-order action.