A staffer at a Washington County school for troubled boys is facing a charge of felony child abuse after authorities say he assaulted a teen boy at the facility.
The 16-year-old boy needed 11 staples in the back of his head after police say Antonio Montav Ross-Jones threw him to the ground during an Aug. 3 altercation at Liahona Treatment Center in Virgin.
Ross-Jones, 23, was charged Wednesday with a second-degree felony, which carries a potential penalty of up to 15 years in prison if he is convicted.
Liahona advertises itself as a residential facility for boys struggling with mental health issues.
Staffers at facilities like these are allowed to physically restrain students, but Utah has rules they are supposed to follow. Charging records indicate that Ross-Jones admitted to police that he did not properly restrain the youth like he had been taught to do.
Security footage showed Ross-Jones twice throw the teen boy to the ground while he held the youth in a "choke-hold style restraint."
During the assault, Ross-Jones allegedly slammed the youth against a countertop before throwing him to the ground. The teen hit his head on the tile floor, which caused his head injury.
Liahona’s executive director, Clayton AhQuin Jr., said Thursday that Ross-Jones was immediately fired after the altercation and his facility reported it to police.
“On Saturday, one of our students was injured when a staff member was too aggressive in managing the student’s behavior,” he said in an email. “The student was treated and returned to Liahona that afternoon.”
Officials with Utah’s Department of Human Services confirmed they received an incident report of the event, and are working with law enforcement. Liahona Academy’s license is in good standing.
Ross-Jones has a limited criminal history in Utah. He was charged in 2015 with misdemeanors for disorderly conduct, unlawful detention and consuming alcohol under age — but those charges were dismissed after he paid a fine and went to anger management classes.
He played football at Dixie State University as a freshman in 2014 but has not been on the roster since.