Police say caregiver impregnated disabled woman

Brevard County authorities are investigating an incident involving a mentally disabled woman who became pregnant. She was living in a group home and was taken advantage of by an employee, police say.

That employee, 58-year-old Willie Fred Shorter, has been arrested after detectives said DNA evidence has produced a match.  To protect the victim, police have limited access to some information in this case.   

Authorities said there was at least one time, and possibly more, when Shorter had sexual contact with the patient. In 2015, she gave birth to a son. She is 40 but has the mental capacity of a 10-year-old child, investigators said. 

Shorter worked for the Bridges Organization, which run homes for people with special needs. On the heels of his arrest, he was fired and is currently out on bond.  Attempts to reach him prior to this report have been unsuccessful.

“We are going to assist the state attorney and do everything we can to put together the evidence needed to put this guy away and get some answers,” said attorney Kevin Smith, who represents the victim.

In a statement, management for the home said the staff is devastated by this. They point to their history --  Bridges has been working with the disabled in Brevard county for over 60 years.  They said employees are subjected to rigorous background checks.

“But there is only so much you could do with someone who has diminished capacity, who doesn’t have the ability to express all these things for themselves, so this family loves their daughter, they are supporting her and we’re doing everything we can to make sure she’s safe from here on out,” Smith said.

Shorter is now charged with lewd and lascivious battery on a disabled adult.  The victim’s son is being raised by her parents.