Rochester man pleads not guilty to elder abuse, animal cruelty

Jul 10, 2023

BROCKTON — A Rochester man has been arraigned on charges that he allegedly left an elderly Rochester woman and her dog to live in squalid conditions for months, Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz announced on Friday, July 7.

Seth Aguiar, 51, pleaded not guilty in Brockton Superior Court to one count each of elder abuse, larceny from an elderly person, misuse of a credit card, use of a motor vehicle without authority, operating a motor vehicle while unlicensed and animal cruelty.

On Friday, June 30, the Plymouth County Grand Jury returned indictments alleging that Aguiar abused, neglected and financially exploited his landlord and neighbor, Rochester resident Theresa Babineau, 77. A Yorkshire Terrier owned by Babineau was found dead in the home.  

Babineau’s godson, Steven Perry of Acushnet, first reported suspected criminal activity to the Rochester Police Department in February, according to Rochester Police Department reports.

In a Feb. 28 wellness check, Rochester first responders found that the temperature in Babineau’s home was 49 degrees, the oil tank was empty and the oil bill had not been paid since March 2022, according to police reports.

According to police reports, Perry said that Babineau and Aguiar entered into a “verbal agreement” that he would “take care of her bills for the house and vehicle in exchange [for not paying rent] at his apartment” at 77 New Bedford Road, which is owned by Babineau who lives at 69 New Bedford Road.

Perry also reported to police that Babineau’s debit card was missing. It was later found in Aguiar’s wallet when he was arrested for driving with a suspended license on March 3.

According to the District Attorney’s office, it is estimated that Aguiar stole approximately $12,000 from Babineau.

According to police reports, Babineau won $1 million in the Massachusetts State Lottery in 2007 and payments from the lottery winnings were linked with the debit card allegedly stolen by Aguiar.

Babineau allowed Aguiar to make a one-time purchase of groceries and medicine with her card in September 2022, according to police reports. She also allowed him to use her car for that purchase, but that he was “not given permission [to use the car] after that day.”

Perry told police that Aguiar was “supposed to be checking in on Theresa and making sure that she was getting her medications and being taken care of.”

According to the report, Babineau’s electrical bill and car insurance had also not been paid.

The investigation alleged that Aguiar subjected Babineau to “horrendous living conditions,” according to the Plymouth County District Attorney.

Aguiar allegedly left her trapped inside without heat and running water, said the District Attorney’s Office. The alleged abuse included neglecting to fill her medical prescriptions.

According to police reports, the inside doorknob of Babineau’s home was broken and that “it would have been impossible for [Babineau] to open it considering her lack of dexterity and declining health.”

During the wellness check, Rochester police officers also found a deceased Yorkshire Terrier that belonged to Babineau, according to police reports.

“Officers reported that the house smelled of decay and estimated that the animal had passed weeks prior,” read the report, which went on to say that Aguiar did not report the dead dog, Babineau’s declining health or the poor living conditions inside the home when he visited on Feb. 26.

According to police reports, Babineau did not know that her dog was dead until she was informed by officers.

Following the wellness check, Babineau was transported to Tobey Hospital in Wareham where she remained for two weeks for medical treatment.

Bail for Aguiar was set at $11,000 with the conditions that he wear a GPS monitoring bracelet, stay away and have no contact with Babineau and submit to random drug screening.