Local nurse charged with assault after allegedly roughing up special needs student

BRIGHTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — A Beaver County mom is fighting to get her son’s former nurse’s license revoked. The nurse is charged with assaulting the 11-year-old boy, who is non-verbal and has a seizure disorder.

When Jennifer Gorzock saw surveillance video from a school bus back in September, she realized her worst nightmare was coming true.

“I literally couldn’t believe what I was seeing. When he touched him, I said rewind it because I need to see it again,” Gorzock said.

In the video, you can see the nurse shove her son, Cooper’s, head, and press down on his shoulder, where he has a device implanted to help prevent his seizures.

“He continuously pushed down on his vagal nerve stimulator, which has leads that can go up into his neck. If they break, they could cause significant damage, and possibly death,” she said.

The nurse, who Jennifer trusted to take care of her son is Craig Schmersal. H was charged for the alleged assault months ago.

However, he never lost his state license, despite the criminal charges he’s facing.

In fact, his license was renewed two months after the charges. On the state nursing board’s website, it lists Schmersal as “active,” and that no disciplinary actions were found.

“I’m very angry and disheartened by the Board of Nursing. He is a man who was caught on video, and the board is well aware of it. They’ve seen the videos, and this man is abusing a special needs kid,” Gorzock said.

Channel 11′s Gabriella DeLuca reached out to the state about why Schmersal still has his license, and a spokesperson told us:

The Department of State cannot confirm or deny whether any licensee is under investigation or whether a complaint has been filed against a licensee. Regarding our general process, though, the Department investigates every potential license violation of which it becomes aware. If an investigation and prosecution leads to disciplinary action, the associated documents are made publicly available in the licensing database or through the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs’ Prothonotary’s Office. The public site also reflects the status of licenses and is updated if the status changes.”

Gorzock’s fear is someone else could fall victim.

“I worry about the other patients in his care, especially patients who can’t speak or help themselves. I worry they may suffer the same abuse as Cooper, but they may not be as lucky to have it discovered.”

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