SEBASTIAN, Fla. — The family of a disabled woman molested by a caregiver who fathered her child says it’s angry that someone with power over her would do something like this.
Willie Shorter, 58, is out on bond, charged with lewd and lascivious acts on a disabled adult. Rockledge Police arrested him last week after DNA evidence confirmed he was the father of a 3-year-old child, born to a patient at Bridges group home in Rockledge, where Shorter worked.
At a Monday afternoon news conference in Sebastian, the victim’s father, Robert Blanchard, spoke out, flanked by his attorneys, wife, daughter, and the 3-year-old grandson Blanchard said he took in.
“My feelings inside of me are a lot of pain, and a lot of hurt,” he said as he teared up.
For the past decade, Blanchard says he trusted the Bridges staff to care for his disabled daughter, now 43 years old. As a child, she got a 107-degree fever due to measles, then developed epilepsy and mental issues from the illness.
“We felt safe, so we placed her there,” Blanchard said.
But in 2015, the staff discovered that the woman was pregnant, and she gave birth to a boy.
Rockledge Police investigated and zeroed in on Shorter, who worked at Bridges for eight of the woman’s 10 years there.
Just this past week, police say DNA tests confirmed Shorter was the father of the now 3-year-old boy, who is being taken care of by his grandparents.
“[Shorter] is a filthy, vile, rat,” Blanchard said.
Family attorney Kevin Smith says Shorter remained at work until his arrest last week, and he suspects the woman was assaulted more than just twice. Shorter was fired after his arrest.
They plan on questioning current and former employees for any potential evidence Shorter may have harmed others.
“The second incident only came to light due to someone walking in as it was happening,” Smith said.
“I’m letting these fine attorneys take care of what I can’t, and they will do it legally,” Blanchard said.
The Blanchards are trying to find their daughter a new place to live, but for now, because of finances, has to take her back to Bridges.
Blanchard’s lawyers plan to file a lawsuit against the group home.
In a statement, Bridges said, “This is devastating for the client, and for the family.”