Teen on life support after assault at children's home

FAIRFIELD, OH (FOX19) - A teenager is on life support after an assault earlier this week at a Butler County children's home.

Chief Richard St. John with Fairfield Township Police says the assault occurred Monday night around 7:30pm at One Way Farm on River Road.

"He literally body slammed the victim to the floor and then punched him in the face," said St. John.

Witnesses say there was an argument over a flashlight that escalated to the assault. The assault occurred between 7:30 and 8 p.m. -- police say the victim appeared to be okay immediately following the incident, , but when employees were conducting bed checks at 11 p.m. and found the victim lying on the floor.

"They found him unconscious and he had vomited," said St. John.

The victim was taken to Children's Hospital, where he has been placed on life support. The 17-year-old suspect is facing an aggravated assault charge and is being held at the Butler County Juvenile Detention Center.

"It's a tragedy, absolutely, and a little surprising, we've had good success with One Way Farm in my five years of being here, and this is the first incident like this that we can recall, so we were a little surprised," said Jeff Centers, director of Butler County Children's Services.
Centers says they had three juveniles who were placed at the One Way Farm, although none were involved in the assault,  all three children have been removed and placed in another facility following the incident as a precaution.
"Due to the severity of the incident that was reported, we felt it was in the best interest of the children we had there to be moved elsewhere, until the investigation is complete," Centers said.

According to its website, One Way Farm provides residential care 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, serving approximately 8,500 children since it opened in 1976. The agency provides an Animal Education Therapy Program, an Employment Training Program, Counseling Services and a Youth Program to further the healing of children.

One Way Farm's board president, Greg Elam, released the following statement:

"On Monday evening two of our children, ages 16 and 17, were involved in an altercation that resulted in the hospitalization of one of the children. As an organization that has been recognized as a leader in healing and helping children live a long and fruitful life, we are doing everything possible to understand and to cope with this unfortunate event that has affected these two children. The incident is currently under investigation by Fairfield Township Police and One Way Farm.  While it is being investigated, the instigator of the fight was removed immediately from One Way Farm and placed in the Butler County Juvenile Detention. We continue to work in the best interests of the children in our care and will be providing counseling to protect the progress they have made and to continue to support their emotional healing. 

"We are extremely heartbroken over this event.  With more than 9,000 children coming through the One Way Farm, we have never experienced such loss."

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