Caregiver Arrested After Disabled Woman He Was Looking After Has His Baby: Police

A Florida man, who worked in a group home for people with disabilities, has been arrested after an intellectually disabled woman allegedly had his baby.

Willie Fred Shorter, 58, was taken into custody Wednesday on a charge of committing lewd and lascivious battery on a disabled person.

“It is a really tough case,” Rockledge Deputy Chief Donna Seyferth tells PEOPLE. “It is almost hard to find words when you have a case like this. Your first initial reaction is your heart really goes out to the victim and family. It just does.”

Shorter was an employee at a group home managed by the Bridges Foundation when he allegedly had sex with the victim who “has the mental capacity of that of a small child,” according to a police probable cause affidavit obtained by PEOPLE.

Seyferth says the facility found out she was pregnant in January 2015 and alerted the police.

She gave birth to a baby boy on May 6, 2015.

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Seyferth says the victim initially provided them with three names of potential fathers, which included Shorter but he denied the allegations and refused to provide a DNA sample.

“At the time of the initial investigation, there was not enough evidence to obtain DNA from [Shorter], and that when he was questioned, denied the allegations,” the affidavit says.

In April 2018, Shorter did provide a DNA sample after the woman reported that he had touched her genitals.

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“We request it and he denied it of course,” says Seyferth. “So we said, ‘you can clear yourself if you want to give us DNA.’ He voluntarily gave the investigator DNA and we got the results back and here we are.”

Police received the DNA results on Wednesday and Shorter was arrested at one of the facilities’ group homes, according to Florida Today.

Bridges president and CEO David Cooke told Florida Today that Shorter remained a staff member even after the initial investigation “because he was not charged with anything, but we decided he should not work at the same home.”

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Cooke says Shorter is no longer employed with the facility.

“We’ve been in Brevard for 62 years serving people with disabilities,” he said. “We are absolutely devastated. This is devastating for the client, for the family. It’s devastating for the staff who work so hard every day, working for our clients with significant disabilities.”

Cooke did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Shorter posted a $15,00 bond and was released Thursday. He could not be reached for comment.

Last month, in a similar case, a 29-year-old severely disabled woman at a long-term care facility in Phoenix gave birth to a baby boy. Nurse Nathan Sutherland, 36, was charged with one count each of sexual assault and abuse of a vulnerable adult. He was linked to the case through DNA evidence. He has pleaded not guilty.


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