The mission of the middle in Fairfax County is to “make use of and assist” individuals with disabilities, however a prosecutor stated a employee sexually assaulted a 29-year-old lady with Down syndrome in its workplaces.
Police started an investigation in October 2017 after a physician made a disturbing discovery: The lady was 5 months pregnant, authorities stated. She later gave beginning.
The sample performed out once more practically a 12 months later. Police say one other shopper on the MVLE Group Heart, a 33-year-old lady with mental disabilities, was raped. The case was reported to police in August 2018 after her physician found she was pregnant. She additionally gave beginning.
Final month, Bernard Betts-King, 60, a behavioral specialist at MVLE, was charged with sexually assaulting each girls. DNA assessments confirmed he was seemingly the daddy of the second lady’s baby, courtroom papers say. DNA outcomes are pending within the different case.
Betts-King was held with out bond final week after a Fairfax County prosecutor outlined a few of the allegations at a Wednesday listening to. Betts-King’s legal professional stated his shopper denies the allegations.
Advocates say the case underscores an issue that has obtained much less consideration within the #MeToo period: the intercourse assault of the intellectually disabled.
Numbers produced by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics for an NPR investigation final 12 months discovered these with mental disabilities are sexually assaulted at seven instances the speed of individuals with out disabilities.
“It is an epidemic that almost all are unaware of,” stated Leigh Ann Davis, director of legal justice initiatives on the incapacity rights group the Arc.
The Fairfax County circumstances come as one other in Phoenix has grabbed nationwide consideration. A girl with mental disabilities who was in a vegetative state gave beginning to a baby in December. A nurse on the health-care facility the place the lady was staying was charged in January together with her sexual assault.
MVLE, in Springfield, Virginia, is privately run however contracts with Fairfax County to supply companies. It served about 300 shoppers final 12 months.
Medical information present the 29-year-old lady in Fairfax County turned pregnant between Might 26, 2017, and Might 30, 2017, based on a search warrant filed in Fairfax County courtroom. Throughout that interval, the lady was enrolled in a every day work program on the MVLE campus, and a assist employees member was overseeing her. The search warrant doesn’t say whether or not that was Betts-King.
Fairfax County prosecutor George Freeman IV informed a decide on the bond listening to Wednesday that the lady has the “thoughts of a 5-year-old.” Freeman stated Betts-King informed detectives after his arrest he engaged in consensual intercourse with the lady as soon as in MVLE’s workplaces and informed her it needed to be fast, so a supervisor did not discover them.
“He stated she got here on to him,” Freeman informed the decide.
Underneath Virginia regulation, an individual with a big mental incapacity is deemed incapable of consenting to intercourse.
The lady, who’s of Korean descent, gave beginning to a lady in February 2018, based on the search warrant. Detectives wrote within the courtroom doc that the kid seemed to be biracial, having darker pores and skin and curly black hair. Prosecutors stated Betts-King is an immigrant from Sierra Leone who holds a inexperienced card.
The search warrant states detectives carried out an interview with the lady in October 2018, roughly a 12 months after the crime was reported to police. When requested who sexually assaulted her, the lady’s most typical reply was “I do not know.”
The lady’s mom, who was interviewed afterward, informed police the one program her daughter attended was MVLE and he or she was in her custody when not at MVLE, based on a search warrant. The lady took a bus to this system.
When requested why the lady was solely interviewed a 12 months after the alleged crime was reported, Fairfax County police chief Edwin Roessler Jr. stated it was the fruits of a 12 months of probing the allegations. He stated police carried out the investigation in a correct vogue.
A Fairfax County police spokeswoman stated detectives weren’t capable of determine Betts-King as a suspect initially as a result of they might not slender down the sphere of potential perpetrators for DNA testing for the reason that first lady couldn’t determine her attacker.
“Very merely, our first sufferer had mental disabilities and was not able to explaining what occurred to her,” Lisa Connors, a spokeswoman for the division, stated in an electronic mail.
The investigation of the second case started in August 2018. The second lady informed detectives a “Bernard” in “behavioral” had sexually assaulted her, and “I informed him I did not need to be touched,” based on a search warrant.
Betts-King denied assaulting the lady in an interview with detectives however consented to a DNA check, based on a search warrant. The second lady’s child was born in November 2018.
The outcomes of the DNA check have been returned early in February, displaying there was a 99 p.c chance Betts-King was the daddy of the kid, a search warrant exhibits. He was quickly arrested and charged with two counts of rape.
Abu Kalokoh, Betts-King’s legal professional, stated his shopper had a superb popularity locally and denies the fees. He stated Betts-King had labored for 15 years at MVLE and for 22 years at Fairfax County’s Group Dwelling Alternate options, one other program that assists the disabled. Kalokoh stated Betts-King has no felony convictions and handed background checks at MVLE.
“They’re allegations,” Kalokoh stated of the fees. “I am not going to get into information whereas the case continues to be pending.”
It’s unclear what sort of oversight Betts-King was topic to at MVLE. MVLE officers launched an announcement saying Betts-King had been fired and so they have been taking the state of affairs “significantly” however didn’t reply to further questions from The Washington Put up.
“We’re absolutely cooperating with the authorities, and since that is an ongoing investigation, we aren’t capable of give any additional feedback right now,” government vp Kenan Aden stated within the assertion.
Betts-King was additionally employed on the Virginia program of St. John’s Group Companies from 2000 to 2006, based on officers there. Betts-King labored instantly with the intellectually disabled in day and residential applications. St. John’s officers stated they’d no report of any complaints about Betts-King.
This fiscal 12 months, MVLE has a contract price as much as $1.9 million with Fairfax County to supply day assist and employment companies for the intellectually disabled. Daryl Washington, the manager director of the Fairfax-Falls Church Group Companies Board, stated that MVLE has been a county contractor for many years and that the board had not obtained complaints about it or Betts-King.
“These are deeply disturbing allegations involving susceptible people; our ideas, prayers, and assist are with the victims and their households,” Washington stated in an electronic mail.
The Virginia Division of Behavioral Well being and Developmental Companies (DBHDS) regulates MVLE. DBHDS inspection and investigation reviews for latest years didn’t doc main issues with the service supplier, however the division is taking a look at Betts-King’s case.
“DBHDS is conscious of the sexual assaults at MVLE, and we’re conducting an investigation whereas cooperating with regulation enforcement,” Maria Reppas, a spokeswoman for DBHDS, wrote in an electronic mail.
Reppas stated a part of the investigation will decide if correct background checks have been carried out on Betts-King. Virginia regulation requires service suppliers for these with mental disabilities to acquire legal background checks and checks of a registry of kid abuse and neglect.
Advocates for the disabled stated prosecuting sexual assaults towards these with mental disabilities might be difficult. The disabled typically lack communication expertise, and regulation enforcement officers usually do not have the coaching to successfully converse with them. Generally, the credibility of the intellectually disabled is challenged due to their incapacity.
“What’s regarding is how straightforward it was for this individual to revictimise,” Davis stated of the allegations within the Betts-King case.