Former worker accused of beating disabled resident with hanger

Former worker accused of beating disabled resident with hanger

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A former employee of the Jonesboro Human Development Center faces a felony abuse charge after state investigators accused of her beating a "profoundly mentally retarded" woman.

District Court Judge Keith Blackman found probable cause to charge Sherrie Currie with felony abuse of an adult.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed by James Hill, an investigator for the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Arkansas Attorney General's Office, the charge stems from an incident that occurred at the JHDC on Nov. 29, 2014.

On that morning Currie, who was employed as a residential care technician, told her shift supervisor the victim "had been up through the night rocking against the wall." As a result, Currie completed a "Marks card" on the victim, who is diagnosed as "profoundly mentally retarded," the court document stated.

Following their conversation, the shift supervisor took the victim's nightgown off and "discovered that she marks from her shoulders all the way down to her spine," the report stated.

The supervisor reportedly noted the marks "appeared to have been made by a coat hanger."

She then asked two residential care assistants to look at the marks. According to the court document, one of the assistants retrieved a clothes hanger from another resident's closet and laid it on the victim's back.

"Each sated that the marks on (the victim's) body matched the size and shape of the coat hanger," the affidavit stated.

A nurse noted the marks on the victim's back, buttocks, legs and right elbow would not have been caused by the wall or bed, as Currie had claimed. She said the marks looked like a coat hanger. She also stated, according to the records, that the marks were "all red and some were starting to welt and bruise."

The victim was given Tylenol and seen by a doctor.

On Dec. 1, 2014, JHDC investigators interviewed Currie who denied striking the victim.

During a subsequent investigation, the affidavit stated a security video revealed footage of Currie entering the victim's room at 2:43 a.m. with a white plastic coat hanger, then exiting with the hanger at 2:44.

At 2:53 a.m. Currie was reportedly captured on security video entering the victim's room with a "large black hanger." She did not have the hanger when she exited the room.

The video captured her leaving the room again at approximately 6:10 a.m. carrying a clear plastic trash bag. According to the affidavit, "the hanger could be seen in the bag and it appeared to have been broken."

When confronted with the video evidence during a Dec. 4 interview with JHDC investigators, Currie reportedly "admitted she had struck (the victim) with a clothes hanger."

In a written statement, Currie said she "shook the hanger at (the victim) and 'tapped' her on the back with it, not realizing that she struck her hard enough to leave a bruise," the affidavit reported.

Currie is currently free on $2,500 bond awaiting an appearance in circuit court.

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