Stephen Kowalsky

A man accused of neglecting a bed-ridden North Riverside senior citizen he was hired to care for faces the possibility of prison time if he’s convicted. A Cook County grand jury on March 31 indicted Stephen J. Kowalsky, charging him with one count of elder abuse by a caregiver.

On March 13, Kowalsky was charged with neglecting 79-year-old Charles Matuska, after a social worker at Loyola University Medical Center contacted police to report that Matuska was suffering from large bed sores that had developed over several months.

Kowalsky was hired in 2012 to live at Matuska’s home and care for him 24 hours a day. But the job reportedly became too much for the 56-year-old Kowalsky, who suffered a stroke himself in December 2013 and needed to be hospitalized for a couple of weeks.

Police say Kowalsky hid evidence of Matuska’s deteriorating condition and bed sores, which had reached the stage-four level, meaning the sores were reaching deep into the muscle and connective tissue.

Matuska, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease and dementia, has since been moved to a long-term-care facility and is recovering.

Kowalsky is scheduled to appear in Room 102 of the Maybrook courthouse on April 9 for arraignment. A North Riverside police source indicated Kowalsky might be prepared to plead guilty at that hearing.

Elder abuse by a caregiver is a Class 3 felony in Illinois, which can come with a prison sentence of between two and five years, if convicted. However, a judge could also choose to sentence Kowalsky, who has no prior criminal record, to probation.