Charges against a juvenile detention supervisor who was arrested in early December for alleged battery against a 15-year-old have been upgraded to a felony, according to State Attorney Bill Eddins.
Eddins issued a press release Thursday saying Shannon Lynn Abbott, 33, Milton will face child abuse charges — a third degree felony — based on several factors. Maximum potential sentence for Abbott could be five years in prison.
Assistant State Attorney James Parker said criteria for the upgraded charges are based on several factors. After reviewing reports from the Department of Children and Families; the Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office; and the Department of Juvenile Justice, Child Protection Team, officials determined Abbott’s actions met the criteria.
View a video of the incident. >>
Parker said because Abbott was in a position of authority over the victim; the victim is under the age of 18; and the “significant injury” to the victim, felony child abuse charges apply. He described the injuries to the victim in this case as, “carpet burns, bruising around the eye and swelling around the face.” He said initially, it was believed the victim had a fracture, but that later was determined not to be the case.
Reports say the injuries happened Aug. 9 at the facility. The incident was recorded on security cameras.
According to the warrant obtained from the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office, Abbott allegedly is seen in two security camera videos leading the victim with their arm secured.
Investigators indicate the victim shows no signs of resisting Abbott.
“The victim is observed not pulling her arms away from the defendant; the victim is not attempting to strike the defendant in any manner and is compliant throughout the entire event,” according to the arrest report.
Abbott then is alleged to have stopped the victim, facing a wall, and is observed repositioning her grip on the victim’s arm: “The defendant’s forearms are now wrapped around the victim’s arms at her elbows with the defendant’s hands clinched together and positioned into the middle of the victim’s back,” the report states. “After (Abbott) repositions her grip she moved her stance closer to the victim from behind.”
According to investigator Larry Tynes’ report, the victim was about two feet away from the cement cinder block wall when Abbott allegedly thrust herself toward the victim in a very forceful manner, using her upper and lower body strength, pushing the victim violently into the wall.
Tynes’ report reiterates that before this action, the victim is observed in a compliant state and is not moving or resisting.
The report stated the victim’s chest area and chin bounced off the wall.
“Seconds later the defendant stops speaking to the victim and pulls the victim with great force and violently throws the victim to the floor while restraining the victim’s arms behind their back.”
Abbott is alleged to have landed on top of the victim’s back with her full weight.
The report indicated the victim weighs 148 pounds and that Abbott’s observed size is much greater than the victim’s as depicted in the video.
When investigators attempted to speak to Abbott, she said she was going to have a lawyer present before she spoke.
Abbott was charged with battery on Dec. 4 by the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office.
A second investigation continues into the actions of the facility’s director, Carol Andrus, who is accused of grabbing the neck of a restrained client and throwing the 15-year-old to the ground. The DJJ report indicates the teenager received lacerations to her face and ear “that looked like it needed stitches.”
Citing concerns over “safety and security” at the facility, the DJJ has placed an admissions freeze on the Milton Girls Juvenile Residential Facility.
No charges have been filed against Andrus to date.
Previous Press Gazette stories contributed to this article.