FaCS worker Lennard Downes has admitted threatening to break the neck of a non-verbal autistic boy in his “care,” but has denied assaulting him.
A magistrate is considering the fate of an Illawarra FaCs carer accused of assaulting a mute autistic boy, after the child’s parents took the extraordinary step of planting a recording device in their son’s bag in a bid to explain his bruises.
This is an absolutely abhorrent act by the carer, threatening to break the neck of a little boy who has no ability to speak for himself, who cannot tell anyone what is happening to him and in a stereotypical cowardly move Downes has blamed literally everyone but himself !
In distressing audio recordings played to Wollongong Local Court last Wednesday, Lennard Michael Downes is heard calling the boy a “f—ing c—t” and threatening to hit him if he doesn’t eat.
Elsewhere in the recordings, Downes is heard telling the boy to “swallow what’s in your mouth or I’ll break your neck” and warning, “don’t f—ing cry or I’ll give you something to cry about”.
This is just appalling behaviour from someone who is supposed to be caring for children in place of the parents, giving them respite, a break from what can be extremely challenging at times. it’s no wonder parents in these situations wear themselves out physically and emotionally rather than risk their precious children with strangers.
Downes has made pathetic excuses for his behaviour including “I was tired, I don’t know what I was suggesting, I was at my wit’s end,” he said. He told the court he had had only five hours’ sleep in between shifts spent caring for the boy, and had come to work on the second day only because FaCS “had absolutely no one else to do it”.
So it’s FaCS’ fault for being understaffed, right ?
Being tired is not an excuse for abusing a child, we wouldn’t accept it as an excuse from parents so why the hell would we except it from a carer?
He said he had “a lot of other things going on in my personal life” at the time, and should not have been at work.
So why were you there? If you are unfit for work, you are unfit for work. Fullstop.
Don’t choose to go to work, especially when your job is to be responsible for another vulnerable persons life and then use it as an excuse for abusive behaviour…. no way is that ok!
So many excuses none of them give any validation to, or justification for, threatening to break the neck of this child. He plays the whole “ none of this is an excuse… but….” card as well. This isn’t him admitting what he did was wrong, this is him saying that he is going to try every excuse under the sun in the hope the magistrate will let him walk free and keep his job.
The fact is parents look after their children day in and day out, month after month, year after year and if they find themselves needing help at any point in their child’s life, they should know 100% that their child will be professionally cared for, nurtured, shown compassion and love just as they would receive at their own home with their parents. What is the point of respite if the parents are constantly worried that their child is being bullied, threatened, physically, emotionally or even in some cases sexually abused.
I have experience helping to care for a non-verbal 6 year old girl, she is also on the autistic spectrum and is considered to be low functioning, and she is one of the most precious things in my life.
It is a privilege being trusted to care for her and the thought of someone hurting her makes me violent.
She is so innocent and so totally vulnerable to jerks like
this scumbag. I am glad I will never meet Mr Downes face to face…..
I know children, especially low functioning non-verbal children on the autism spectrum, can be frustrating at times. Ms 6 yr old makes a noise like a siren, we call it her “all’s well siren” she does it all day, when she is happy. Yes it is loud, ear piercing, and I don’t know how her parents cope so well, but they do, because they have to… they know too much of what happens to trust their precious girl with anyone but us.
We are not denying it’s exhausting but if you are getting angry, remove yourself, do not inflict your anger and violence on such an innocent beautiful gift from the gods. Anyone who can even think about threatening to break the neck of any child let alone a non verbal autistic child makes me physically ill. What a pathetic coward ! You aren’t sorry you putz ! You are just sad you got caught ! You only did this because the child is non-verbal and you thought there was no way you could be caught out !
I haven’t even gone into the allegations of you assaulting the child and I won’t comment on those because the fact is the magistrate has not handed down her judgement on that topic yet, so I will refrain until she does.
To me it’s bad enough that he verbally threatened the boy, imagine being this boy at a care facility on respite, away from his loving family in the hands of this brutish stranger and he is screaming at him, you can’t speak to defend yourself or tell someone what he is doing to you but everytime you go there, this pathetic coward berates you, he screams at you, he threatens to kill you and the whole time you can’t do a damn thing, you can’t tell anyone you can’t let anyone know but you know everytime you go there, this vile thing is there and he will make you scared.
That’s what you did Lennard Downes, you scared an innocent child over and over again until eventually his awesome parents planted a recording device… and suddenly you’re remorseful ? RUBBISH ! You are only sad you got caught and the whole world now knows what a pathetic coward you really are, berating and threatening to kill an innocent child, big man you must be !
To add absolute insult to injury (although I guess we shouldn’t be at all surprised this happened) but his fellow FaCS worker stood up for Mr Downes, they even testified on his behalf.
A co-worker who cared for the boy in the hours between Downes’ shifts described the child “jumping, screaming, running into the kitchen into the cutlery drawer”. She told police that the boy was still awake at 2.30am – “screaming, tapping, trying to get out” and was at times “lying in bed, hitting himself in his face with his hand” and that by shift’s end she was “ a little bit at her wit’s end”.
So being at your wits end did you threaten to kill the child ? Did you scream in his face ? Did you tell him to “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about” … god damn I’d like to give Mr Downes something to cry about….. Seriously to his female co-worker who backed him up are you saying that you understand what he did ? IF YOU ARE, THEN YOU TOO DESERVE TO LOSE YOUR JOB AND NEVER AGAIN BE ALLOWED NEAR CHILDREN ESPECIALLY SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN. How dare you stick up for this abhorrent coward and try and justify what this child has endured at his hands. HAND IN YOUR RESIGNATION NOW YOU ARE NOT FIT TO BE A FaCS WORKER !
Downes later told police the boy “had some kind of bruising on him” every time he saw him. Isn’t that convenient because the boy can’t say otherwise so he can’t possibly disagree … so why not blame his family or blame his autism when the fact is he is more than likely left in a state of PTSD by the cowardly moron berating him and threatening to break his neck ! Or worse being told to “stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about !” Seriously that one has left me absolutely burning how dare you !
He admitted he lied to police when he initially denied verbally abusing the boy, due to “fear about what [the truth] might say about me as a person”
There it is folks, exactly what he cares about. Doesn’t care about the severe impact he has undoubtedly had on the innocent young boy, doesn’t care about the fact that young boy will never be the same because of the verbal berating and death threats he has received at the hands of a so called man who is supposed to be his carer !
No he doesn’t care about any of that, he cares about how his pathetic cowardly actions will make him look to others.
Well Mr Lennard Downes, on behalf of the FACAA members let me tell you exactly what the world thinks of you, YOU ARE A PATHETIC ABHORRENT COWARDLY LOSER WITH A SEVERE AGGRESSION PROBLEM WHO ACTS WITH LESS MATURITY THAN THE CHILDREN HE IS SUPPOSEDLY CARING FOR.
I hope you never again work with children, I hope when magistrate Susan McGowan hands down her decision on the 31st of January it is a decision to send you behind bars for a very long time.
Autistic children are gifts from the gods, anyone who can possibly hurt them or any child for that matter when they are meant to be carers should be locked up for a very long time.
This is why we need cameras in all facilities where children are cared for, especially those who cannot communicate. Our children deserve so much better.
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