Missouri has gained a new class of people, thanks to the legislature.

A new state law will protect "vulnerable people" from abuse.

Kirkwood Senator Michael Gibbons, the sponsor of a bill creating the crime, says it is patterned after the state law on elder abuse.  It protects people who are mentally retarded, developmentally disabled, or mentally ill.  He says those covered are those in custody, care, or control of the Department of Mental Health

that is receiving services from an operated, funded, licensed, or certified program.                                   

The bill is awaiting the governor’s signature.