LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) — An employee at a Largo children’s home faces a felony charge after Largo police say she allegedly ordered the children in her care to attack one another on multiple occasions.
An affidavit says Child Protective Investigations was called to the group home — listed as Home for Kids on the defendant’s employment record — after a child suffered severe lacerations to his right arm and his face, bleeding heavily from his wounds on June 19, 2021.
The document states that while authorities interviewed eight of the children there, the children all separately said staff member Helena Jacquese Fergus, 39, of Clearwater ordered them to attack other children in the home. Police say the children would use brooms, belts, and their fists in these attacks.
According to the affidavit, one child explained that the victim was having a violent episode, and Fergus allegedly told him to “handle” the child. He then took a broom, entered the room with the victim, and attacked the child “before he could attack (him).”
While the child was striking the victim with the broom, the plastic top came off, and the child with the broom cut the victim, causing the severe lacerations.
The affidavit further states that another incident report was filed on June 22, 2021, after an unnamed child told another staff member that Fergus told him he was to attack another child. Due to the redactions in the document, it is not clear if this was the same incident as the June 19 incident.
The affidavit said that during questioning, Fergus said the victim was being aggressive, and she told the other child to clean the room the victim was in. She then explained that the victim took the broom from the other child and cut himself.
However, when asked why she would allow another child to be with the victim during an aggressive episode, she did not have an explanation, according to the affidavit.
Fergus faces one charge for neglect of a child (great bodily harm) and has been issued a $10,000 bond.
Correction: The original headline stated the home was in Clearwater. This was quickly fixed to reflect the correct location.