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Ex-Cherry Hospital workers convicted of assaulting patient

Posted May 29, 2009

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— A Wayne County jury on Friday morning found two former Cherry Hospital employees guilty of assaulting a patient last year.

Taniko Dominique Upton, 33, and William Kenneth Johnson, 52, were convicted of misdemeanor simple assault on a handicapped person.

A district judge found both men guilty on the charge in November, but they appealed their convictions to Superior Court for a jury trial.

Senior Superior Court Judge Arnold Jones sentenced each to 60 days in jail.

Upton and Johnson, who worked as health-care technicians at the Goldsboro mental facility, were fired in August after allegations surfaced that they beat a patient on Aug. 18, the same day federal investigators released a report citing Cherry Hospital for patient neglect.


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  • justafella May 29, 2009

    Tiffany2007, what part of the story did you not read, they were found guilty by jury and sentenced by a judge to 60 days jail time.

  • circlecity May 29, 2009

    The news paper do not tell about the patients that go into Cherry with hand cuffs and ankle chains. If this is need for the police protects you would think that the works at cherry would need some kind of protect from the patients also. Yes not all patients are violent but some are. Its good that Cherry has camras in most locations. If things are going on like this at Cherry what is going on at Oberry where the patient are unable to talk and tell what is going on with them.

  • Tiffany2007 May 29, 2009

    I totally agree with your comments, but in a blink of an eye a serious charge such as this can wipe away a clean record and they have NOT been found guilty yet. I worked at Cherry and a few of the kids I worked with were very mean and I admit I was afraid of some. You have to be strong mentally and physically. I do wish the best for them, but people outside of that environment only see the word Mentally Ill and immediately sympathize with the patient. Best wishes on both sides.

  • Strong31 May 29, 2009

    I know both of these men personally and they were great health care techs. It is so sad that all the good they did while working at the hospital is not being reported. From my understanding they were trying to protect a female patient who was being threatened by a male patient (and the male patient even admitted that he did threaten to fight the female patient according to the Goldsboro News-Argus). Working with the mentally ill is a dangerous environment, which sometimes should be compared to working with inmates at a prison. Not every mentally ill patient is combative/dangerous and the majority of patients really do deserve compassion and great care, but there are some others who are just outright mean and know that they can get away with it. I know a lot of people may not agree with my comments, but these are just my opinion.