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June 21, 2013

Group home worker guilty of assault on disabled man

SALEM — A now-former worker at a Salem group home for mentally challenged adults was found guilty yesterday of slapping and kicking a resident who did not want to eat his lunch one afternoon last December.

“Sir, let me tell you something,” Salem District Court Judge Matthew Machera told Noah Martin Jr., 50, of Lynn, moments after the jury’s verdict. “Not only did you fail in your duty to this person, you became a perpetrator. Instead of caring for that person, you made him a victim.”

Martin was found guilty of two counts each of assault and battery on a disabled person and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, the shod foot he used to kick the disabled man “like a soccer ball,” as one witness testified.

Machera sentenced Martin to a suspended 18-month jail term, with three years of probation that will include anger management classes, a ban on working with disabled or other vulnerable people, and an order that he stay away from the victim, the witnesses and the Turning Point group home on Buena Vista Avenue in Salem where he had worked part time for 10 years.

The incident took place on Dec. 9 in the dining room of the group home, where the victim is one of four residents.

The victim, who was unable to testify, suffers from autism, mental retardation, obsessive-compulsive disorder and Tourette’s syndrome and relies on the assistance of the staff for meals and other areas of his daily life.

George Knowlton, a full-time employee of the home, arrived for work around noon and heard Martin “screaming at the top of his lungs,” he testified under questioning by prosecutor Heidi Sylvanowicz.

Knowlton said he signed in on a computer, then went to assist another resident with lunch, as Martin continued yelling.

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