2nd caregiver convicted of abusing autistic man

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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.

4 comments

  • Friendofautism

    The jurors were confused about the charges. They asked question after question during deliberations about what a closed fist meant and if an autistic person could feel the same pain as a non autistic person.And if caregivers need more training to know it's not okay to punch, kick or shove your patient. Common sense was clearly absent in the mind of some jurors. This was a very different jury pool than the last jury pool that convicted the first caregiver. Just another wake up call to how jurors are different. You never know how they will decide, based on their individual experiences and education and insight into the issues and evidence presented to them. A travesty of justice occurred today. A deeply disturbed caregiver got off light.

    • Matt F

      From your comments it sounds like you either were on the jury, or know a juror. I was an alternate on this trial and am really surprised at the verdict. I would be curious to hear from anyone that was involved in deliberations of why the defendant wasn't held more accountable for his actions.

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