Richmond mom: No justice for my special needs son
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A Richmond mom shared a disturbing video that shows her son, who has special needs, being thrown around by a woman who is supposed to be taking care of him.
This happened at a treatment center in Chesterfield called Kingdom Dominion Incorporated. The worker was arrested and fired, but just this week, a judge found her not guilty of assaulting the little boy.
It was a confrontation between a therapeutic day center staff member and a small child. It escalated showing the woman pulling the boy by the arm, and he landed on the other side of the room near a trash can that flipped over and spilled.
"Pick it up right now!" she yelled.
The boy in the video was Jacinth Coleman's 7-year-old son, Ja-Juan. "She's egging him on like she knows his trigger points," said Coleman. In another part of the video, you hear other people in the room who are laughing.
Coleman said she sent her son to the center called Kingdom Dominion because the facility is supposed to have trained staff to help him deal with his ADHD and OCD. She said another student gave her the video, and she gave it to police. It was enough for officers to arrest and charge the staff member with assault.
But last week, a judge found the woman not guilty.
"He [the judge] viewed the video a lot of times," said Coleman. "He said, 'The last pull was kind of hard, but you have to think about when you're dealing with kids like this. 'How would you [go] about it?' I wouldn't have pulled the child like that!"
But the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services confirmed it is now investigating the facility. The president of the center, Harriet Hill, said she was not aware of the state investigation until now.
She addressed the video. "We did our due diligence immediately," she said. "We contacted the proper authorities, CPS, our licensure and Chesterfield Police were called in." She said the woman in the video was dismissed they day they got the video and staff members received extra training.
We took the video to the organization "Stop Child Abuse Now."
"De-escalate conflict," said Ian Danielsen, a Child Welfare Policy Coordinator. "Represent that I'm a safe person even if you're showing out of control behavior."
Experts said there are restraining techniques used on children but pulling or throwing is not part of that training. "We're sorry for anything that has happened that would in any way tarnish the industry or even our agency," said Hill.
Coleman's son is now in another treatment center where she said he is thriving.
Kingdom Dominion Incorporated is closed right now, but not because of this incident. We're told it's because one of its owners is having health issues.
The president pointed out all staff members go through a background check and are trained.
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