LIBERTY HILL, Texas (KXAN) — Investigators say the boy at the Meridell Achievement Center in Liberty Hill had bruises, scratches and marks consistent with being strangled.
Court documents say on November 1, the 8-year-old and another child were chasing each other in the nurses station, where they’re not allowed without an adult. Police say when 33-year-old Justin Johnson, a registered nurse at Meridell, saw the boy, he charged forward, putting his hands on the eight-year-old, pushing him to the floor.
Johnson told police he thought the boy could’ve taken an item from the nursing station as a weapon, and that is why he put him in the hold.
The boy told police that Johnson choked him and he couldn’t breathe.
Johnson, who lives in Georgetown, has been charged with injury to a child. He was released from the Williamson County Jail Wednesday on a $5,000 bond.
The CEO of Meridell tells KXAN Johnson has been suspended until this investigation is complete. They say they can’t comment on camera, but take the safety of their patients seriously.
During inspections by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), Meridell was found to have seven deficiencies in the past two years. An inspection on Oct. 4, 2014 revealed that one caregiver had a pending FBI background check since July. Meridell self-reported to inspectors on Nov. 4, 2013 that a caregiver “did not demonstrate self-control when they shoved a child in care in retaliation to kicking a shoe,” the report states. The facility’s full compliance history can be found here.
The Texas Board of Nursing is aware of Johnson’s arrest and are investigating. If convicted, Johnson would lose his license. It’s also possible his license could be suspended prior to a conviction.