Charges Announced Against 3 CA Employees in the Death of Special Needs Boy

CBS News
November 15, 2019 - 6:55 am

CBS Sacramento

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Charges were announced Tuesday against three California employees in the death of a student with special needs, CBS Sacramento reports. Guiding Hands School, Inc. Executive Director and Site Administrator Cindy Keller, Principal Staranne Meyers and special education teacher Kimberly Wohlwend each face one charge of felony involuntary manslaughter for the November 2018 incident.

Thirteen-year-old Max Benson died after reportedly being restrained by staff due to violent behavior. He eventually became unresponsive. Authorities said a teacher performed CPR, but Benson died two days later at the UC Davis Medical Center.

The California Department of Education later suspended Guiding Hands School, Inc.'s certification and it was closed. The agency found that the school violated state rules when its staff put Benson in a face-down restraint position for nearly an hour.

The private school in El Dorado Hills is also facing a count of felony involuntary manslaughter. The El Dorado County district attorney's office issued a statement saying the case was filed "after a lengthy, multi-agency investigation into the facts and circumstances that led to the death of [Benson]."

All three defendants will be arraigned Wednesday afternoon.