Probation for Adams day care provider who abused child with autism

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NORTH ADAMS — An Adams day care provider has been sentenced to probation for abusing a child with autism in 2015.

As part of an agreement with prosecutors, Dolores Zabek will no longer be able to take care of a child in a professional capacity, must undergo mental health counseling, and not contact the victim.

She was captured on video in July 2015 abusing the then-4-year-old child. The video was shot by one of the children under her care.

In the video, Zabek is seen kicking the boy twice in the head while wearing sandals, once in the stomach with a bare foot, and slapping him twice in the buttocks, according to a police report.

Zabek operated owned and operated Doty's Day Care out of her East Street home in Adams for 28 years, according to a sentencing memorandum filed by her attorney, Elizabeth Quigley.

"Ms. Zabek concedes that she would direct the child's behavior with a gentle tap of her foot on him when nap time would take place to ensure he would stay down in a sleeping position," Quigley wrote. "This was done with a soft sandal. No physical harm was done to the child."

While the defense acknowledged there was physical contact between Zabek and the child, Quigley pointed to "a combination of a lack of education and training about the care of autistic individuals" that resulted in her client using "her best efforts to integrate the child with the day care population."

As part of the agreement with prosecutors, charges of assault and battery on a disabled person were amended to simple assault and battery charges.

During a hearing in Northern Berkshire District Court on Monday, Zabek admitted to sufficient facts for a finding of guilty on four counts of assault and battery, two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and permitting abuse on a disabled person that were continued without a finding until April 5, 2019.

Reach staff writer Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376 or @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter.


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