YORK COUNTY, Va. – Two teacher assistants at the New Horizons Center for Autism in York County have been arrested after allegedly abusing a student and conspiring to cover it up.
Diane ‘Renee’ Smith, 45, of Hampton and Darcie Badami, 35, of Yorktown face charges following an investigation at the center, according to WTKR.
The investigation began with a report of a non-verbal child at the center who had bruising, but police believe that other children may have been abused at the center.
It was reported that a staff member at the center reported the abuse on May 16 after she heard a child screaming and found a teacher assistant chasing a 13-year-old special needs student around the room, according to the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office.
The staff member reported the woman then allegedly began sticking the boy several times in the arm with a push pin.
She then lifted his shirt and applied a cleaning wipe to the wounds.
Another teacher assistant was heard by the staff member conspiring with the teacher assistant to cover the incident up by saying the push pin marks were bug bites.
Smith was charged with assault and battery and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Badami was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and released. No mug shot was available.
The investigation is ongoing to make sure that there are no other victims.