Tuesday, June 9, 2009

GA: State Child Advocate Investigates Autism Abuse Case

Updated June 9, 2009
Posted by: Jane Watson

ATLANTA -- Georgia's Child Advocate is getting involved after 11Alive's investigation in an autism abuse case.

Tom Rawlings says his office has launched an investigation after a judge ruled that 11-year-old Stefan Ferrari was abused by an adult at his school.

Stefan is non-verbal and attended a facility run by the state funded agency Metro RESA. Stefan attended the school at the recommendation of Atlanta Public Schools. He is an APS student.

Rawlings says his office will look at how DFACS, Atlanta Schools, Atlanta Police and MRESA handled the family's accusations of abuse. Rawlings said the possible recommendations to Gov. Sonny Perdue could include legislation or clarification of how abuse concerns should be handled within the educational system.

Atlanta Public School officials say they have also launched their own internal investigation into how the Ferrari's case was handled. School officials have admitted that the family was treated badly.

Stefan's teacher, Sherri Jones, is out of the classroom, however it's not known if she is still employed. Jones was employed by MRESA and the organization will not comment at the advice of its attorneys.

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