Phoenix caregiver arrested for abusing two special needs patients, per PD

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Desmond Keelan Washington. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Desmond Keelan Washington. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Desmond Keelan Washington. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Desmond Keelan Washington. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

An East Valley caregiver has been arrested for abusing a two of his special needs patients, police said.

The Chandler Police Department said Desmond Keelan Washington, 22, was arrested at a Phoenix home on Tuesday, Jan. 30, an estimated month and a half since the alleged abuse occurred.

He has since been released but faces one count of vulnerable child abuse in Chandler and two counts of vulnerable adult abuse in Mesa.

Washington is accused of hurting a 17-year-old boy while at a home for special needs children in Chandler on Dec. 16, 2017. Court paperwork did not name the group home company but said during his shift that while bathing the alleged victim, there were abrasions on his inner thighs, upper pelvic area, back, ankle, and a bruise on his left knee. A caregiver said she heard the boy scream, something that was unusual behavior. Another caregiver heard what she thought was a punch or a slap coming from the bathroom and the suspect say something along the lines of "you don't like it when I do that to you," according to court documents.

Chandler police responded the same day of the allegations but didn't arrest the suspect, police said. Washington told the investigating officer the boy's injuries were a result of him falling. The boy's mother located more injuries.

Court paperwork also said Washington has a similar abuse investigation against him in Mesa three days earlier. While working for the Guild Care Group on Dec. 13, 2017, he's accused of taking a vulnerable 30-year-old man into the shower, hitting his head against the shower wall, and aiming the running shower head at the patient's face, making it difficult for him to breathe, police said.

The suspect also wrapped a towel around his hand and punched the patient repeatedly in the chest, according to police. When the patient tried to get up, the caregiver punched him in the face, causing a black eye and busted lip, court documents said.

The report also said the suspect lied on the company's injury report, claiming the patient hurt himself. He's also accused of threatening a co-worker who witnessed some of the abuse to not tell anyone, police said. The patient is not able to communicate because of "diminished mental capacity."

Arizona's Family reached out to Guild Care Group for comment. Officials confirmed Washington was fired last year and e-mailed us this statement:

At Guild Care Group there is no greater priority than the safety and well-being of our Members.  Upon learning of alleged misconduct by one of our employees last December, we immediately took action, including contacting the State’s regulatory agencies responsible for investigating reported incidents of misconduct.  Guild Care Group cooperated in every stage of the investigations conducted by such agencies and law enforcement.  All Guild Care Group employees are subject to rigorous pre-employment screening and continued monitoring and oversight throughout their employment.  At Guild Care Group, we do not tolerate any acts of misconduct.  While we are certain that this was an unforeseeable and isolated incident, we too are deeply impacted and we thank Mesa PD for its swift and thorough handling of this matter.

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