A 19-year-old Utah man is facing a felony charge after he allegedly hit, pinched, tripped and slammed the head of a cerebral palsy patient he was caring for to the floor.
Spencer Keith Mendenhall was charged in 2nd District Court with aggravated abuse of a vulnerable adult, a second-degree felony; and intentional abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult, a class-A misdemeanor.
According to a probable cause statement, Mendenhall's therapist contacted Adult Protective Services after he told her “that he had been hurting one of the residents” at Chrysalis Group Home at 4933 S. 1500 West in Riverdale, where he was employed. Mendenhall “admitted to tripping the resident, pinching his nose, hitting him in the stomach and slamming his patient's head to the ground,” along with having him lay on the floor despite a “bad back.” The abuse had been going on for “one to two months.”
According to the therapist, Mendenhall said “he got set off” by “the victim clapping his hands and making finger gestures like a 1-year-old.”
A social worker told police the victim is non-verbal and has cerebral palsy, cognitive problems and personality disorder. He was taken to a Ogden Regional Medical Center to be treated for a brain bleed, and then moved to Heritage Park Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Roy.
According to the investigating officer, she saw bruises around the victim's left eye, his arms and legs. She said nurses told her there was also bruising in the victim's anus and scrotum area.
Mendenhall admitted he had been abusing the victim, according to police. “He would let the victim fall and he would grab the victim’s head and slam it on the floor … about five times.” Mendenhall attributed the anal bruising to wiping the victim “too hard” during diaper changes, adding “he did it intentionally to cause pain.”
Mendenhall was booked into the Weber County jail. Bail was set at $11,950.