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Former hospital worker gets one year in jail for burning a child in her care

Posted at 4:41 PM, Dec 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-20 18:21:29-05

NEW KENT COUNTY, Va. — A former Cumberland Hospital employee will spend the next year in jail for intentionally burning a disabled patient.

A judge suspended four years of Stacey Burrell's five-year sentence Monday at the New Kent County Circuit Courthouse.

Burrell was previously convicted on a felony wounding charge as part of an October plea deal.

The Virginia Attorney General's Office said evidence showed that on September 14, 2019, the former behavior technician (BT) poured scalding water on 16-year-old Jackson Haddon after she and another BT had difficulty getting Haddon to bed.

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Stacey Burrell

The Attorney General report stated a “frustrated” Burrell was seen on surveillance video entering the kitchen. It’s there, the AG believed she warmed the water. She’s seen carrying two cups of liquid while instructing Jackson to go to the bathroom. The pair is in the bathroom one minute and 23 seconds before Jackson left the bathroom in “an obvious state of agitation and no longer wearing a shirt.”

The report also stated eyewitnesses described a struggle between Burrell and Jackson.

Camera footage showed that Jackson’s skin was reddened and that Burrell left the room without the cups with which she entered.

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“Following the injury in the bathroom, the defendant and another behavioral technician on the unit physically restrained the victim and tossed him into his room," the report to the court stated.

According to the AG report, “The victim whimpered in his room for about 12 minutes before the defendant checked to see how the victim was doing. The defendant then entered the room and shortly thereafter reported to the nurses’ station that the victim had a rash and needed cream. The charge nurse and nursing supervisor then evaluated the victim and determined that the injury was not a rash and was in fact a 2nd-degree burn.”

Monday, the AG presented the court with three pictures of Jackson’s “severe injuries” in the hours right after the injuries. She pointed out that the defendant failed to report how Jackson got injured which delayed his appropriate treatment. The AG called the incident “egregious,” and asked the court for the maximum sentence.

The AG also expressed how much Jackson’s family has been through. She talked about how they felt the system failed them with “lies” and how they have “mistrust of the hospital system.”

In her victim impact statement, Jackson’s mom Shannon Haddon expressed to the court, “Jackson still exhibits trauma from what happened; he does not like being touched or cleaned up in the area where he was burned.”

The defense called Burrell’s second cousin to the stand who testified that Burrell has always been a kind God-fearing woman and that this was shocking and “out of character.”

He said she was a “beautiful sweet soul.” He said she has spent a lifetime caring for others within her family and as a special education teacher.

The defense also submitted three letters to the court on Burrell’s behalf. Her attorney said she spent 2019 caring for everyone else but not herself and that’s what got them to today.

Burrell told the judge not a day goes by that she’s not concerned about Jackson and that she hopes he’s healed. She also expressed how concerned she was about caring for her husband if she was sentenced to jail.

While the Hon. B. Elliot Bondurant acknowledged Burrell’s years of caring for others, he said, “these pictures are horrible,” when referencing Jackson’s injuries. Therefore, sentencing her to one year in jail.

Haddon said while no punishment will fit the crime, she's thankful to those who got her here and she's glad this is behind her.

As CBS 6 has been reporting since February 2020, the hospital has been under criminal investigation by the Virginia State Police for child abuse and neglect since October 17, 2017.

Since then, two employees, including Burrell, were criminally indicted. A former psychotherapist died by suicide on the day he was expected to plead guilty to a sex crime.