Nurse convicted of abusing autistic man

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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.


    • Mike

      Why on earth would you hope that anyone under any circumstances be a victim of rape? Although the charges against the Defendants are horrific and one Defendant has been found guilty, we are a society that punishes guilty parties with imprisonment. We do not sanction rape in prisons, which remains a heinous, sick crime.

  • Jason

    People with developmental disabilities are not lesser human beings that don't matter. They are a minority that must be protected from predators who prey upon them and then justify the abuse by blaming their actions on the stress caused by their patients. Parents of babies are stressed beyond belief for months when their baby is born, and nobody would justify abusing a baby. People with special needs are worthy of special protection. Nobody, especially a caretaker should ever be abusing a person they are supposed to be caring for. The repeated abuse seen in this RN case is a disgrace to the nursing profession.

  • Rick

    Matthew McDuffie as of this writing is and remains an innocent man. There is no evidence that shows Mr. McDuffie committed a crime. I also want to know how the victim's mother silently watched in excess of 2,000 videos and also went to Europe for a month while leaving her son in the custody of Mr. Garritson and Mr. McDuffie.

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