hi-sylen-piatt

Sylene Piatt suffers from cerebral palsy.

A former group home worker guilty of assault and administering a noxious substance against a disabled woman in her care was given a four-month conditional sentence to be served in the community.

Ashley Johnson assaulted Sylene Piatt, who has cerebral palsy and can't feed herself or speak. Johnson's sentence also includes one-year probation and a fine.

The court heard that, on three separate occasions dating back to March 2011, Johnson forced Piatt to chew peppercorns, and put lemon juice and hand sanitizer in her eyes.

The prosecution said Johnson bullied Piatt because she drooled. Johnson told court none of that was true, and a co-worker was telling lies about her.

Today, Justice Dennis Maher said in a Battlefords Queen's Bench courtroom that the sentence had to reflect the fact that Johnson was in care of very disabled woman who couldn't defend herself. The defence had asked for a suspended sentence.

"It's been hard, but I'm glad it's done," Sylene's mother Collene said. "And I'm happy people will know where she is and it won't hopefully happen again." 

Piatt was once a poster child for Telemiracle, a fundraiser run by Saskatchewan's Kinsmen Foundation to raise money for disabled people.