Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ross County Ohio Easter Seals Employee caught on Camera Abusing Child in her care

Ross County Prosecutor Michael Ater is awaiting additional information to determine whether a caregiver's alleged abuse which was supposedly caught on hidden camera will result in charges being filed.

According to an initial Ross County Sheriff's Office report, deputies responded to an apartment on Cattail Road on a call of suspected abuse by the caregiver of a 16-year-old girl with developmental disabilities.

Officers spoke with the parents of the girl, who told them they suspected their daughter, who suffers from cerebral palsy and mental retardation and shows autistic symptoms, was being abused by her caretaker, a woman employed by Easter Seals.

They told deputies they bought a camera system and installed it in the living room area prior to leaving the apartment Sept. 12 to see if their suspicions were justified.

Upon returning to the home, they discovered their daughter was upset, and said she usually is agitated when the caretaker arrives and leaves the home.

"She flipped out," Pam Allison, mother of the teen, told Gazette partner 10TV News for a story that appeared Tuesday. "(My daughter) pulled my hair, scratched me, left these marks on me."

Reviewing the tape, they observed the caretaker grabbing their daughter by the arms numerous times and, on one occasion, sitting on the teen.

The officer taking the report said he saw the tape and witnessed the caretaker taking a piece of reading material away from the girl and sitting on her. In the videotape, the girl and caregiver appear to wrestle over the magazine.

The tape also shows what the reporting officer said was "(the caregiver) combing (the girl's) hair in an aggressive manner and pushing her head forward."

The parents contacted Easter Seals, and the officer told the agency what he had witnessed. The caregiver's supervisor indicated she would complete a report for the agency and Ross County MRDD. The officer indicated he would forward the report to Ross County Children's Services so it also could be included in the investigation.

The parents indicated the caretaker had eaten their food, taken naps when she was supposed be taking care of their daughter and had made numerous long distance phone calls on their residential telephone, to the point where they had to turn off service to their home phone

Rob Duvall, marketing director for Easter Seals, said the caretaker was fired Tuesday and the office is fully cooperating with law enforcement and Children's Services in the investigation.

Duvall said it is the agency's policy to ensure the safety and security of the families they provide services for.

Ater, before making a decision on criminal charges, is awaiting a copy of the final incident report and the opportunity to view the videotape. The caregiver's name is not being released because charges have not been filed yet.


JMC Ministries Thoughts

This incident happened just a few miles away from where we live and our Grandparents had lived on Cattail Road for more than 30 years before selling their home.

We are just happy that the parents of this girl saw the warning signs and caught the abuse on camera.

As a State Certified Nursing Assistant for the state of Ohio. I have worked in nursing homes and also have done home health care. It is very upsetting to think that someone would take this kind of a job and not care about the person they were there to help.

In the 3 years that I have been a Nursing Assistant I have seen some very horrifying things people have done to patients. I myself have even had to report patient abuse. I have seen wonderful caregivers, nurses and nursing Assistants. But, I have also seen bad and the bad ones sometimes can give us all a bad reputation to those who have experience abuse either directly or indirectly. Some are just there to get a paycheck not be a servant and help those in need.

Please pray for the young girl that was abused. Because, it may take months, even years for her and even her family to be able to trust another caregiver after what this one person has been accused of doing.

We also need to pray that Easter Seals start hiring compassionate, caring people who will provide the best care for these children.