Operator Of Adult Day Care Center Charged With Sexual Assault


The operator of a Payson day care center was arrested Saturday for the alleged sexual assault of a developmentally disabled person.

"We're looking into possible additional incidents," Gila County Sheriff's Det. George Ratliff said.

The sheriff's department received the complaint July 10 and issued a search warrant for the center. A 52-year-old Payson man was arrested July 12 and charged with sexual assault.

While in custody, the suspect allegedly attempted suicide by tying a sheet to the cell bars and around his neck.

The suspect is now in the Gila County jail in Globe and the investigation is continuing.

According to the local office of the Department of Economic Security, the center is a registered Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System provider for day care service and transportation of the developmentally disabled.

Liz Barker, director of the DES media information office, said the center has been contracted with the agency since May 2002 and is licensed to care for the disabled of all ages, including children. It currently has 23 clients in its care, she said.

(Editor's note: The Roundup does not name suspects in sexual abuse cases unless there is a conviction.)

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