Story Summary

Autistic Man Abused

Story Timeline
Previous Next
This story has 6 updates

VISTA, Calif. — Two caregivers convicted of abusing a 23-year-old severely autistic Valley Center man under their care were each sentenced Monday.

Matthew McDuffie and Michael GarritsonThe pair were sentenced to one year in jail, but will not have to spend any more time behind bars due to credit for time already served.

Registered nurse Michael Dale Garritson, 62, was convicted April 22 of two felony counts of willful cruelty of a dependent adult likely to cause great bodily injury and four misdemeanor counts and acquitted on a seventh count.

Judge Blaine Bowman placed him on three years probation, during which he will not be allowed to work as a nurse or caretaker, or contact the family of the victim.

After the hearing, the victim’s mother, Kim Oakley, called the lack of additional jail time for Garritson was “shocking.”

Earlier, Matthew Alexander McDuffie, 28, a medical assistant, was found guilty of two misdemeanor counts of willful cruelty to a dependent adult and acquitted on two similar counts.

In court, Oakley said McDuffie betrayed her family.

Surveillance video allegedly shows caregivers abusing a 28-year-old autistic man.

Surveillance video allegedly shows caregivers abusing a 28-year-old autistic man.

“We welcomed him in our home. I trusted him and thought he was doing a good job with my son,” she said. “He completely betrayed us. What I saw on those videos will forever haunt me.”

Both men worked for the victim’s family for more than two years, according to San Diego County sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Varnau.

They were arrested in September, after Oakley gave investigators more than 2,000 individual video recordings documenting abuse of her 23-year-old son Jamey, the sergeant said.

The family set up a video system in his bedroom over a three-week period in August. The victim is severely autistic and does not speak, Varnau said.

His father, Mark Oakley, said Jamey can’t defend himself and needs to be fed, given water, dressed and bathed.

Prosecutors said the abuse included poking the victim’s eyes, bending and twisting his arms and pulling his hair.

“I know, Your Honor, that my behavior looked bad on video but I never tried to harm anyone, especially Jamey,” Garritson told the judge.

VISTA, Calif. — Two caregivers convicted of abusing a 23-year-old severely autistic Valley Center man under their care were scheduled to be sentenced Monday.

Registered nurse Michael Dale Garritson, 62, was convicted in April 22 of two felony counts of willful cruelty of a dependent adult likely to cause great bodily injury, four misdemeanor counts and acquitted on a seventh count. He faces up to eight years in prison.

In a separate trial, medical assistant Matthew Alexander Matthew McDuffie and Michael Garritson, 28, was found guilty May 14 of two misdemeanor counts of willful cruelty to a dependent adult. He was acquitted on two other similar counts and is expected to be given credit for jail time served.

Both men worked for the victim’s family for more than two years, according to San Diego County sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Varnau.

They were taken into custody last September after the victim’s mother, Kim Oakley, gave investigators more than 2,000 individual video recordings of the defendants allegedly abusing her 23-year-old son Jamey, the sergeant said.

The family set up a surveillance video system in the victim’s bedroom over a three-week period in August. The victim is severely autistic and does not speak, Varnau said.

Prosecutors said the abuse included poking the victim’s eyes, bending and twisting his arms and pulling his hair.

VISTA, Calif. — A caregiver was convicted of two misdemeanor charges Tuesday for abusing a severely autistic 23-year-old man under his care in Valley Center.

Matthew Alexander McDuffie, 28, will be given credit for jail time served when sentenced Monday at the Vista Courthouse.

Surveillance video allegedly shows caregivers abusing a 28-year-old autistic man.

Surveillance video allegedly shows caregivers abusing a 28-year-old autistic man.

A jury found McDuffie guilty of two misdemeanor counts of willful cruelty to a dependent adult and acquitted the defendant on two other similar counts. A judge dismissed a sixth charge.

McDuffie had faced the charges as felonies.

Another man, Michael Dale Garritson, a 62-year-old registered nurse, was convicted in April of two felony counts of willful cruelty to a dependent adult likely to cause great bodily injury, four misdemeanor counts and acquitted on a seventh count. He faces up to eight years in prison when he is sentenced Monday.

Both men worked for the victim’s family for more than two years, according to San Diego County sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Varnau.

They were taken into custody last September after the victim’s mother, Kim Oakley, gave investigators more than 2,000 individual video recordings of the defendants abusing her 23-year-old son Jamey, the sergeant said.

The family set up a video system in the victim’s bedroom over a three- week period in August. The victim is severely autistic and does not speak, Varnau said.

Prosecutors said the abuse included poking the victim’s eyes, bending and twisting his arms and pulling his hair.

VISTA, Calif. — A registered nurse was convicted Monday of two felony charges for abusing an autistic man under his care in Valley Center.

autistic boy abused

Michael Garritson

Michael Dale Garritson, 62, faces up to eight years in prison when he is sentenced May 20.

After more than a day of deliberations, a jury found the defendant guilty of willful cruelty to a dependent adult likely to cause great bodily injury. Garritson was also convicted of four misdemeanor counts and acquitted on a seventh count.

Jury selection for the trial of 28-year-old co-defendant Matthew Alexander McDuffie begins Tuesday.

Garritson and McDuffie, a medical assistant, worked for the victim’s family for more than two years, according to San Diego County sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Varnau.

They were taken into custody last September after the victim’s mother, Kim Oakley, gave investigators more than 2,000 individual video recordings of the defendants allegedly abusing her 23-year-old son Jamey, the sergeant said.

Surveillance video allegedly shows caregivers abusing a 28-year-old autistic man.

Surveillance video allegedly shows caregivers abusing a 28-year-old autistic man.

Over a three-week period in August, the family set up a surveillance video system in the victim’s bedroom. The victim is severely autistic and does not speak, Varnau said.

Prosecutors said the abuse included poking the victim’s eyes, bending and twisting his arms and pulling his hair.

VISTA, Calif. — Two caretakers accused of repeatedly abusing a 23-year-old severely autistic man in his Valley Center home must stand trial on multiple charges of willful cruelty to a dependent adult, a judge ruled Friday.

Matthew Alexander McDuffie, 28, and Michael Dale Garritson, 61, face nine years each in state prison if convicted, according to Deputy District Attorney Natalie Villaflor.

Matthew McDuffie and Michael GarritsonAfter a preliminary hearing that lasted parts of two days, Vista Judge Tamila Ipema found that enough evidence was presented for the defendants to stand trial.

McDuffie, a medical assistant, and Garritson, a licensed registered nurse, were taken into custody Sept. 19 after the victim’s family handed investigators more than 2,000 individual video recordings of the alleged abuse, according to San Diego County sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Varnau.

Over a three-week period in August, the family set up a surveillance video system in the victim’s bedroom. The victim is severely autistic and does not speak, according to Varnau.

McDuffie and Garritson worked for the victim’s family for more than two years, Varnau said.

The defendants will be back in court Jan. 8 for a readiness conference. Garritson’s trial was set for Feb. 14. McDuffie had his trial set for Feb. 28.

VALLEY CENTER, Calif. — Two men were jailed Thursday after they were allegedly caught on surveillance video abusing a 23-year-old severely autistic Valley Center man for whom they were hired to care.

Surveillance video allegedly shows caregivers abusing a 28-year-old autistic man.

Surveillance video allegedly shows caregivers abusing a 28-year-old autistic man.

San Diego resident Matthew Alexander McDuffie, 27, and Michael Dale Garritson, 61, of Valley Center, were arrested Wednesday evening after the victim’s family handed investigators more than 2,000 individual video recordings of the abuse, according to San Diego County sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Varnau.

McDuffie and Garritson have worked for the victim’s family for more than two years, Varnau said.

Over a three-week period in August, the family set up a surveillance video system in the victim’s bedroom. According to Varnau, the victim is severely autistic and does not speak. Authorities did not immediately detail the nature of the alleged abuse.

McDuffie and Garritson were each booked in lieu of $1 million bail into the Vista jail on suspicion of multiple felony counts of causing harm to a dependent adult. They could make their first court appearance as early as Friday morning, according to online jail records.

Advertisement