Note: WKBN wants to correct part of this story that aired on First News at 6 on Friday, Oct. 1. Our broadcast showed video of Potential Development School. We want to make it clear that Dr. Stephen Flora has not worked for Potential Development and is not affiliated with the school in any way. We sincerely apologize for the confusion.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A man who is a professor at Youngstown State University and a counselor at a Boardman practice is facing child endangering and disorderly conduct charges.
Dr. Stephen Flora was fired from his job at Progressive ABA Therapy Group following an incident with a 7-year-old special needs client on August 25.
“There was a physical altercation, her son needed treatment, needed counseling which he’s supposed to provide. He went outside the scope of what a normal psychologist would do and became physical,” said the victim’s attorney, Justin Markota.
Markota says the boy suffers from a variety of disorders including autism and ADHD.
“He was aware of that and despite knowing how to deal with a situation where my client’s son could have an issue dealing with something, he took it to a level where… to restrain him in a way that would comfort him went too far and became abusive,” Markota said.
According to a police report, workers said the boy was acting out when Flora grabbed him and held him in a chair.
The victim’s mother provided police with photos of bruising under her son’s arms, on his legs and one in the middle of his upper back.
“There’s tremendous damage done to my client’s son that he has to live with a lot longer than what the incident lasted,” Markota said.
Flora has also been placed on paid administrative leave from his other job at YSU. The university acknowledges that they are aware of additional complaints that have come to light and have begun an investigation.
“Just because somebody is different one way or the other, they still deserve the care that’s necessary for them,” Markota said.
Flora has pled not guilty and is set to appear in court on November 2.
We tried to contact Flora and his attorney but did not receive a response by our deadline today.