Autistic boy's mother speaks out about attack

Posted at: 03/12/2013 10:19 PM
By: Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Photo: Bonnie Reeders
Photo: Bonnie Reeders

This week a former healthcare worker pleaded guilty to abusing a 12-year-old boy with autism.  In the plea agreement, the man won’t have to spend more than one year in jail.  The mother of that boy spoke exclusively to KOB Eyewitness News 4 Tuesday night about she feels about what she’s calling a lenient deal.

A 2010 4 On Your Side investigation revealed a video that showed Leonard Bernal kneeing the boy in the face inside a home for children with autism called Camelot in Southeast Albuquerque. 

"It just crushed me,” said the boy’s mother Bonnie Reeders.  “I couldn't bear to see my son getting beat like that and I was just crying because I couldn't be there to protect my son and keep him safe like a mother should."

This week Leonard Bernal, the man seen in the video beating, pleaded guilty in court in exchange for a lesser sentence. 

"As the victim's mom, I would like him to do the max time,” Reeder said. 

Reeders’ son is now 15 and while time has passed, the wounds have not completely healed.  She says he still has nightmares about his time at Camelot and fears going near the building on Gibson Blvd.