AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– A woman suspected of operating unlicensed personal care homes had her day in court. Maragaret Dale Freeman faces 26 charges including neglect of a disabled adult and exploitation. She has been in jail since her arrest on October 1st. And Thursday, she pleaded not guilty to those 26 charges and filed a speedy trial motion.
Her family and attorney opened up for the first time Monday about what they say is really going on.
“Even while battling cancer, she never took a break from what she believes is her calling,” Freeman’s daughter, Erin Faour, said. She explained the accusations against her mom, Margaret Dale Freeman, are not true, and that Freeman was simply housing and ministering to people in need. That is why Freeman’s attorney, Charles Rollins, contacted me this week– to give his client a voice.
“She helped people who needed it when they needed it,” Rollins told me. “I can tell you this, getting to know Mrs. Freeman and her dedication to service and what she has done made me want to be a better Christian.”
Rollins wrote a statement concerning Freeman’s case. He wrote Freeman didn’t make any attempts to obstruct the investigation, but a Richmond County Sheriff’s office case report states on the day investigators came to her licensed personal care home, Freeman refused to tell law enforcement where the residents were. The report also says she never responded to officials, then later that day, stopped answering her phone.
The incident report states those residents were later found at a hotel, without food, water and medication, but Rollins wrote those residents were taken to the hotel due to plumbing issues.
He wrote the alleged unlicensed personal care homes are actually rental homes, and legally, Freeman was not obligated to care for her tenants.
“My relative loved living in her home. She felt safe there,” Andre Griffin who has a relative that has live in one of Freeman’s homes since 2005 said. “As far as I am concerned, Miss Freeman has done right by my family. Her love and care is spread all over this community.” He told me when law enforcement shut down the alleged unlicensed personal care home, she had to find other living arrangements.
“She is kind of distraught. With her illness, it is stressful,” Griffin described his relative.
“She became the only family these individuals had. My family appreciates your thoughts and prayers during these trials and tribulations. We also welcome your scrutiny. We genuinely believe that truth and justice will prevail,” Faour said of her mother.
Rollins told me he is working hard to get a trial date set so that Margaret Dale Freeman can be released from jail and continue her ministry.
Count on us to keep you updated on this case.