Second Arlington Aide Sentenced In Beating Case
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 19, 2004
ARLINGTON, TENNESSEE--Leon Cecil Bratcher, a former aide at Arlington Developmental Center, was sentenced Friday to 37 months in prison and three years supervised release for repeatedly beating institution resident James Johnson.
Bratcher, 37, admitted last October that he and former co-worker Tovi Brewer, 26, physically assaulted Johnson, who has mental retardation and does not talk. The confessions came as part of a plea agreement reached after a jury deadlocked in their criminal trial.
Brewer was sentenced on February 20 to 31 months in prison.
In their pleas, Bratcher and Brewer admitted that between January 1997 and June 1998 they routinely kicked, slapped and punched Johnson in the head and chest to punish him for behavior caused by his disabilities -- including wetting his pants. The defendants and several witnesses covered up the abuse to protect each other, they said.
The investigation began in June 1998 when Johnson was reported to have suffered massive bruises, welts and lash marks on his back, buttocks and hip, apparently made by an electrical cord. The federal prosecutor said Bratcher and Brewer were too lazy to care properly for Johnson, so they tried to control him with threats and violence.
"Todays sentence sends a strong message to those who would betray the trust placed in caretaking positions and abuse those left in their care, Assistant Attorney General Acosta said Friday in a U.S. Department of Justice press statement. "Residents of development centers have every right to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their condition, and we will not tolerate those who behave with such callous disregard for their humanity."