Two Lawrence men have been charged with abusing a mentally challenged resident of a local care facility.
Dustin D. Taylor, 20, was charged in Douglas County District Court with two counts of mistreatment of a dependent adult. Eric S. Wyatt, 34, was charged with three counts of mistreatment of a dependent adult and two counts of mistreatment of a confined person.
Both men are accused of mistreating a 57-year-old man at Ponderosa House, a licensed intermediate care home for mentally challenged adults. Taylor and Wyatt were employed at the home, which is in 1200 block of East 26th Street and operated by Community Living Opportunities.
In a written statement, Wyatt confessed to having grabbed the victim "in an aggressive manner and pinched his cheeks shut."
Wyatt also wrote that he would hit the victim with the heel of his shoe.
"I have no excuse for my actions other than poor judgment while being impaired by emotion and extreme frustration," Wyatt wrote in a statement included in court documents.
Charges were filed against Taylor and Wyatt by Kansas Atty. Gen. Phill Kline. His office began investigating after a routine review of records at the Kansas Department on Aging.
"We noticed some things that didn't seem right," said Whitney Watson, a spokesman for Kline's office.
CLO chief executive officer Mike Strouse said his staff filed the information with the state after an internal investigation, which led to the termination of Taylor and Wyatt in July.
1200 block of East 26th Street
"We were really happy the investigation by the attorney general's office occurred," Strouse said. "When someone privately does something to a person who can't or doesn't speak, then it's good these investigations happened and that charges are filed. It shows there are ramifications against such actions."
Strouse said the organization does background checks on all employees before hiring them. Wyatt had been employed with CLO since January 2002, and Taylor worked for CLO since June 2003.
The name of the victim has been withheld. But Strouse said the man has been with CLO "for a few decades and part of Ponderosa House for many years."
As of Thursday afternoon, Wyatt was no longer being held at the Douglas County Jail. A $10,000 bond was posted for his release, said Lt. Kari Wempe, spokeswoman for the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. Jail records indicate Taylor was released at 8 p.m. Thursday. His bond was $5,000.