TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A Tyler man pleaded guilty Tuesday afternoon to two charges of beating a nonverbal autistic teenager last year while he was working as an employee at a community home.
Auston Reed, 24, was captured on video grabbing the victim by the neck, and hit him in the side of the head with an open hand, causing the victim’s head to snap to the side.
The 19-year-old cannot speak, so he was unable to communicate what was happening to him.
241st District Court Judge Jack Skeen sentenced him to 10 years in prison on each charge and they will run concurrently, meaning at the same time. If he serves the full sentence, he will be released in late 2030.
Reed did not speak except when addressed by Judge Skeen about the process.
Another employee from the home, Bubacarr Ceesay, is also charged in the case, but has shown indications in preliminary hearings that he wants to advance to trial. He is next due in court on Feb. 24 and it is unclear if Reed would be testifying against him.
The abuse happened at a group home owned by a company called Community Access in Tyler. The company said that the victim had been diagnosed with the following diseases and disorders:
- Pervasive Developmental Disorder
- Fragile X Syndrome
- Impulse Control Disorder
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder
- Moderate Intellectual Disability
- Speech Impairment
Buddy Smith III, the home manager, confirmed to police that Ceesay was the one on video and that timesheet records show that he was the only one working at the time of the assault.
Ceesay and Reed initially denied to police in an interview that they were the ones assaulting the victim. After police showed them the video, both confessed that it was in fact themselves.
Tonya Moses, the Vice President of Community Access in Tyler sent this statement regarding the incident:
“We are devastated and horrified that this happened to one of our loved ones. The individuals we serve are our family and we will not tolerate any type of mistreatment. We do our best to hire, train and retain employees and associates that are passionate about providing quality personalized care. Upon learning of this, we immediately reported it to the authorities and removed the employees from our payroll. The employees involved are no longer employed with Community Access and we are currently working with investigators on the matter. Community Access has served individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities for 29 years providing quality care. “TONYA MOSES, VP, COMMUNITY ACCESS IN TYLER