ST. GEORGE — A youth worker was arrested for child abuse after an altercation with a student caused a laceration to the youth’s head that required stitches to repair.
Antonio Ross-Jones, 23, was arrested and transported to jail facing a second-degree felony child abuse offense after a youth residential treatment center in Washington County called the Sheriff’s Office to report that a 16-year-old student was injured during an altercation with staff that took place at the facility.
Washington County Sheriff’s Lt. Dave Crouse told St. George News that the incident was reported as required by law under the facility’s certification requirements.
The facility also provided video surveillance footage to detectives while an interview with the student was conducted by the Division of Children and Family Services.
After viewing the footage, gleaning information from the youth’s interview and questioning the suspect, investigators were able to determine there was sufficient evidence to submit the child abuse charge against Ross-Jones to the Washington County Attorney’s Office for review.
According to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest, the charge stems from an incident that took place Aug. 7 when police say the student was thrown to the ground on two separate occasion while being held in a chokehold-style restraint by Ross-Jones, who was working as a youth staff member at the facility.
During an interview with detectives, Ross-Jones narrated the video surveillance footage and admitted that he “slammed” the teen against the countertop during the first incident of the youth being thrown down. The suspect said he was holding the youth and “just let him go,” which is when the youth’s head hit the tile floor and caused the laceration that required 11 stitches.
According to the treatment center’s statement to police, Ross-Jones failed to restrain the student as outlined in the facility’s training protocol, which the suspect allegedly admitted to. He also said he could have asked for help and “did not restrain as taught,” adding that he accepted full responsibility for his actions, the probable cause statement says.
The suspect was arrested and transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility and has since been released after posting a $10,000 bond.
Crouse said this is still an open investigation, adding that Ross-Jones was terminated after the incident and is no longer employed by the facility.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.