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.

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