Former Great Circle employees accused of abusing patients with autism

Missouri

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged four workers at a local health care facility with abusing residents, two of whom are children with autism.

The charges stem from three incidents over the last 7 months at Great Circle, a nonprofit behavior health care provider for children.

The most recent incident occurred Jan. 19, 2021. Twenty-four-year-old Wayne Roberts Jr. and 23-year-old Amara Jorden are said to have targeted the same 11-year-old victim. Prosecutors say surveillance video shows Roberts “dragging, slamming, and pushing the victim to the ground.” Roberts can be seen taunting and prodding the child, and “holding the victim’s head to the ground for several seconds.”

Video shows Jorden assaulting the same 11-year-old victim on two different occasions on the same day. She’s accused of knocking the victim to the ground and later grabbing and dragging the child into his bedroom.

Meanwhile, prosecutors claim 22-year-old Dwayne Jennings can be seen on surveillance video slamming a door onto a nonverbal autistic resident’s leg. That incident occurred Dec. 24, 2020.

On Aug. 5, 2020, surveillance video allegedly shows 27-year-old Andrew Wright punch an adult resident with autism in the face and neck several times.

Roberts, Jennings, and Wright were each charged with one count of felony abuse of a health care recipient while Jorden was charged with two counts.

According to our news partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a Great Circle spokesperson said the organization reported each incident to law enforcement and, after an internal review, fired the employees.

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