Three Accused of Abusing 12-Year-Old Child with Autism

Three adults were arrested Thursday afternoon, facing allegations that they mentally and physically abused a child with autism.

Police say the abuse happened while the three were working at Gull Point Recreation Center.

The alleged abuse was caught on camera.

53-year-old Rose James, 19-year-old Kemon Johnson and 20-year-old Jarrett Clifton are facing charges after police say they abused a 12-year-old boy with autism.

According to police, Johnson repeatedly threatened the child with a metal stick, even grabbing the child and pushing him to the ground at one point.

WKRG was unable to obtain a copy of the video, but police also say it showed James slapping the child in the face and kicking him, and Johnson and Clifton dragging the child by his arms out of the view of the camera.

The President of Autism Pensacola was shocked by the allegations.

“My initial reaction is just to be horrified that anyone would want to abuse any child and certainly a child with autism or any disability seems doubly heinous,” Susan Byram said.

The child was attending a camp at the recreation center and told his mother someone was mean to him.  Surveillance video showed the child kicking a pipe and his lunch bag across the room, but not towards anyone prior to the abuse.

“You got to be a cruel human being to do something like that,” said Timothy Simmons.

James had worked at the center for about three years.  Clifton and Johnson worked at the center for a few weeks.

A motive for the incident is under investigation.

The City of Pensacola gave News 5 a statement, saying “The city followed proper protocol in reporting the incident to the correct agencies” and “the three suspects are no longer city employees.”

 

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