A patient care assistant at Nassau University Medical Center has pleaded not guilty to charges of attacking a 6-year-old boy in the hospital.
Azoumana Ouattara, 45 of Freeport, was caring for the boy in the hospital's psychiatric ward at the time of the alleged attack last month, police said.
"He used unnecessary force," said Detective Lt. Raymond Cote of Nassau County Police. "The boy describes being forcibly held around his neck, with squeezing taking place, while he was being held to the bed."
Photos taken by the boy's mother showed red marks on his neck.
The mother, Angela Iovino, told NBC New York Wednesday she's still haunted by what her son said to her after the assault.
"He said, 'Mommy, after it happened, I was crying for you but you weren't there,'" said Angela Iovino. "That really made me upset."
"No child should be treated like that, period," said Iovino.
The boy had been hospitalized for what his mother called a medication adjustment. The boy suffers several psychological disorders, said Iovino.
On Oct. 29, after a visit by his mom, the boy became agitated, cursing at Ouattara, said police. According to Cote, the hospital worker became "upset" and choked the boy.
Ouattara, a husband and father, has worked at the hospital for five years and had a clean work record, according to a hospital union representative.
"I can say he was cleared by his bosses to return to work after they investigated [the alleged assault]," said CSEA executive vice-president Linda DiMonda.
Ouattara pleaded not guilty to assault and other charges. He is due back in court this Friday.
The 6-year-old boy has since returned home and is faring better, said his mother.
"People that work in wards like that should be more sympathetic about why people are there," said Iovino.