A woman has been charged with abuse after a Lexington mother used a concealed camera to capture footage of the caretaker atop a special-needs child.
Lillian Denise White, 56, was charged with second-degree criminal abuse of a child under the age of 12, according to court documents. She was released on $5,000 bail.
As of Wednesday afternoon, she was still employed by Caretenders, which is owned by the publicly traded Almost Family, said Patrick Lyles, senior vice president. White’s formal title with the company, according to court documents, was “care taker.”
Lyles would not comment on how long White had been employed by Caretenders or if she could lose her job.
“This is an unfortunate incident,” Lyles said. “We will do the right thing for our patients.”
Tiffany Fields began noticing behavioral changes in her 4-year-old son, Luke, after she and her husband, Timothy, hired White, said Dale Golden, the family’s attorney. The worried parents decided to purchase a camera to find out if the caretaker was doing anything inappropriate.
On the first day Fields used the camera, she captured footage that shows White straddling Luke, presumably to limit his movements, during diaper changes. She also rolled him forcefully, and pulled him roughly by one leg. Luke was left with a bruise on his arm, Golden said. In addition to restraining Luke, White can be heard on the clips using expletives as she calls him names.
White refused to comment Wednesday.
Luke suffers from Down Syndrome, severe epilepsy and a heart condition, Golden said. He is not able to communicate verbally.
In an effort to limit the severity and frequency of his epileptic seizures, Luke has a vagus nerve stimulator, Golden said. The family has recently noticed an increase in Luke’s seizures, so they were going to see a neurologist to see if the device was damaged during White’s care.
Fields told her attorney that Luke has always been a very loving child who liked to be hugged and held, but that changed when White started watching him, Golden said. The shift in behavior is what convinced Luke’s parents to buy the camera.
“These parents had a gut feeling that something was wrong with their child, that something was not right,” Golden said. “Many times we don’t follow that gut feeling and we ignore it to our own detriment or the detriment of our children. I think this case indicates that it’s wise for parents to follow that gut instinct and follow up.”
White is due back in court on Oct. 13.