BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Police say a man who works with special needs clients is facing child endangering charges for how he handled a child at a local facility.
According to a police report, the mother of a 7-year-old boy, who is a client at Progressive ABA Therapy Group on Market Street, reported that her son was handled aggressively by Dr. Stephen Flora during an incident on August 25 at the facility.
Flora is also a professor in the psychological sciences and counseling department at Youngstown State University. According to university spokesperson Ron Cole, he is on paid administrative leave.
The mother said workers at ABA told her that they witnessed Flora become increasingly agitated at the boy, who the mother said suffers from ADHD, anxiety, autism, Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) and suffers from a sleep disorder.
According to a police report, workers said that the boy was acting out, lying on the floor and kicking his legs against the wall when Flora grabbed him by the arms, put him in a chair and placed his knees against the boy’s hands and on his thighs.
Staff said that the boy yelled that Flora was he was hurting him, but he continued to hold him in the chair, according to the police report.
The mother provided police with photos that showed bruising under the boy’s arms, on his legs and one in the middle of his upper back, the report stated.
The child’s mother said she did not seek medical treatment for her son’s injuries and doesn’t think he was seriously injured, however, she said that his behavior has changed due to the trauma of the event,
According to the police report, Flora was immediately fired and sent home after the incident.
According to the Secretary of State’s website, Flora is listed as the statutory agent for Progressive ABA Therapy Group, LLC as part of its business filings in 2018.
WKBN reached out to the business for more information on Flora’s role there, but a person there declined to comment other than to say that he had been removed from the facility after the incident.
Flora is charged with child endangering and disorderly conduct. His arraignment is set for Oct. 7.