Florida Caregiver Accused Of Impregnating Disabled Woman With 'The Mental Capacity Of A Small Child'

Bridges employee Willie Shorter was arrested in Rockledge, Florida after DNA evidence revealed a "99.99 percent" chance he was the father.

By Dorian Geiger

A Florida man who worked as a caregiver at a facility for adults with disabilities is accused of impregnating a disabled woman there who gave birth in 2015.

Willie Shorter, 58, has been charged with lewd and lascivious battery on a disabled adult. He was arrested by Rockledge Police on Wednesday. Shorter bonded out of his court hearing on Thursday.

Just over four years ago, staff at Bridges care home in Rockledge, Florida noticed a resident was pregnant and notified police, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com. Detectives observed that the woman had “the mental capacity of a small child” and determined she was “unable to consent to sexual intercourse.”

But she did tell investigators about three people who could potentially be the father. Police said they quickly eliminated the two other individuals in question as suspects. They questioned Shorter but he denied the allegations. At that time, authorities didn’t have sufficient evidence to collect and test his DNA.

After the woman gave birth, police took a DNA sample of her child, who was adopted by her family, according to the Associated Press.

But in April 2018, the woman made another complaint about Shorter. This time, she told police, Shorter “touched” her vagina. Police opened a separate investigation but Shorter again denied those accusations. Because he was previously questioned in connection to the woman’s pregnancy, police asked Shorter to provide a buccal swab. He voluntarily consented, reiterating his claim that he wasn’t the father.

 

On Wednesday, police received results of the swab. Genetic testing revealed a “99.99 percent” chance that Shorter was the father of the victim’s child. Shorter was arrested shortly after.

“This is reprehensible,” Donna Seyferth, deputy chief of police at Rockledge Police Department, told Oxygen.com.

“We take this stuff to heart. Our first thoughts are always to the family. Hopefully, at least, we can give them some answers. Sadly, this guy’s still denying it,” she added.

Seyferth noted that in her nearly three decades in law enforcement, she’s never seen a case quite like this one.

“It’s just awful,” Seyferth said. “Thank god these aren’t the kind of cases that we work every day.”

Shorter was working at Bridges up until the time of his arrest. David Cooke, the CEO of the care home, did not respond to Oxygen.com’s request for comment. But he told Florida Today that Shorter had been employed by the nonprofit for eight years prior to his arrest and that he wasn’t let go after the initial complaint in 2015. Shorter has since reportedly been terminated. The victim still lives at the facility.

Court records show Shorter has no prior criminal history in Brevard County.

[Photo: Brevard County Sheriff's Office]

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