Marie-Therese Connolly, a former Justice Department attorney who has championed efforts to expose the problem of elder abuse, has won a MacArthur Fellowship, the so-called “genius grant” of $500,000 that comes with no strings attached.
Connolly is one of 22 recipients of fellowships, awarded annually and announced Tuesday by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. She will receive the money over five years.
Connolly is the founder and director of the Life Long Justice initiative and is creating an advocacy effort to prevent, detect and intervene in the mistreatment of elderly people. The initiative also is working to ensure the reauthorization of the Elder Justice Act.
Connolly was a senior trial counsel at DOJ from 1986 to 2007 and was coordinator of the Elder Justice and Nursing Home Initiative from 1997 to 2007.
In summarizing her accomplishments, the foundation credited Connollly with developing new legal theories of liability and new investigative and litigation strategies to get around loopholes in federal statute in an effort to prosecute elder abuse cases.