Court docs: Caretaker assaulted autistic man with flashlight

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 12:55 p.m. July 10 with a statement from the suspect’s former employer. 

An Indianapolis man allegedly assaulted an autistic man he was caring for with a flashlight, Johnson County prosecutors say.

William F. Brooks Jr., 85, is charged with battery resulting in bodily injury to a disabled person, a Level 5 felony. He was arrested and booked into the Johnson County jail on Saturday.

Greenwood Police began investigating on July 5, after a woman called 911 to report a caretaker had abused a client. At about 1 a.m. that morning, the woman was notified that Brooks had allegedly abused a 33-year-old autistic patient he was taking care of. Brooks had been taking care of the man for a long time, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Johnson Superior Court 3 on Tuesday.

A new trainee was with Brooks during the incident. The trainee saw Brooks strike the man multiple times with his hands and a flashlight. The 911 caller told police they would be contacting Adult Protective Services as well, the affidavit says.

Video was also obtained of the incident, which reportedly showed Brooks striking the man with his hands. The video was stopped before Brooks allegedly hit the man with a flashlight, according to the affidavit.

The man who was allegedly assaulted is on the autism spectrum and is nonverbal. They displayed no signs of aggression during the video, the affidavit says.

The trainee told police Brooks allegedly struck the man multiple times in the head while he was wearing a protective helmet. While the man received a bath and was getting cleaned and dressed, Brooks reportedly struck him with a closed fist multiple times in his torso, the affidavit shows.

After getting the man cleaned up, Brooks reportedly placed his hands around the man’s neck, lifted him off the ground and threw him onto a bed. Brooks turned off the light in the room, which led the trainee to believe he was letting the man go to bed. Brooks then reportedly struck the man in the face and head with a large flashlight, leaving the man with bloody cuts on his mouth, the affidavit says.

The man also had redness along his entire torso and back, along with a bruise on his inner knee, the affidavit shows.

Lawrence Police detained Brooks at his home, and Greenwood Police later took him into custody. Brooks told detectives he did not hit the man, and that he was strong, so he had to “kinda block him or he’ll knock you out with his weight,” according to the affidavit.

Because the man reportedly was not lying down to go to sleep, Brooks went and got the flashlight because the man didn’t like it. Brooks said he’d put the flashlight on the man’s head to let him feel it because “normally if you don’t let him know what’s around, he’ll come back at you again,” the affidavit says.

Investigators say Brooks told them he would push the man, sometimes when he would push the man to get him back. When he does this, sometimes his hands would be closed and sometimes they would be open. He denied putting his hands on the man’s neck, according to the affidavit.

While being taken to the Greenwood Police Department, Brooks reportedly told investigators he was “good at taking care of folks,” according to the affidavit.

Brooks was employed by Indianapolis-based Community Integration Support Services, but has since been fired. In a statement provided to the Daily Journal, owner and president Steven Phillips said the company was “saddened and disturbed” to receive the report of the abuse.

Read the full statement below:

“We are deeply saddened and disturbed to receive a report of abuse against a consumer of our services. The safety and wellbeing of those in our care is our highest priority. Community Integration Support Services have a zero-tolerance policy toward any form of abuse or mistreatment,

Upon learning of the incident, we responded in person, ensured victim safety, and removed the employee from duty. The employee was immediately terminated the same day after being reported to the authorities by his co-workers. Community Integration Support Services and all witnesses are fully cooperating with this investigation.

We are conducting a thorough internal review of our policies, procedures, and staff training to determine how this incident occurred to prevent anything like it from ever happening again. We are committed to providing the highest standard of compassionate care for our consumers.

We extend our sincerest apologies to the victim, the family, our staff and our community. We understand the trust placed in us and take our responsibility extremely seriously. We are dedicated to regaining that trust through our actions going forward.

Support services are being made available to the victim, other consumers, their families, and our staff members. We remain committed to providing full transparency throughout this process,” the statement said.