A Mary Esther man has been charged with child abuse after the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office discovered the victim was required to spend up to fourteen hours monitoring an incapacitated individual in lieu of attending school.
47-year old Joseph Matey is accused of pulling the teen out of school in 2017.
The victim was told he could enroll in a different school, but that didn’t happen. Instead he was required to help care for an individual who needed 24 hour care. His shifts ranged up to fourteen hours during which time he was to remain awake and alert, monitoring medical equipment such as a ventilator and checking vital signs, as well as feeding and caring for the individual’s needs.
He was also required to work alongside Matey after his own “watch”, typically getting only five hours sleep a night.
An evaluation by a licensed psychologist determined the teen exhibits the effects of “educational deprivation” and mental injury due to the exploitation.