Children's therapist who slapped vulnerable boy is ruled fit to work

Children’s therapist who ‘violently’ slapped a vulnerable four-year-old boy ’10 to 20 times’ because he didn’t put his shoes on is ruled fit to work again because he has ‘reflected’ on the assault

  • Ramon Priess struck boy in front of his mother at Maximum Potential in London 
  • He was convicted of assault and suspended from his profession for nine months
  • Mr Priess was also handed a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months 
  • The occupational therapist has now been allowed to return to work in the UK 

A children’s therapist who ‘violently’ slapped a vulnerable four-year-old boy ’10 to 20 times’ because he did not put his shoes on and pretended to be asleep has been ruled fit to work again after ‘reflecting’ on the assault.

Ramon Priess was convicted of assault and suspended from his profession for nine months after striking the child’s face in front of his mother at Maximum Potential in London.

The German-born occupational therapist has now been allowed to return to work in the UK after writing a ‘reflective piece’.

A Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service (HCPTS) committee ruled: ‘Mr Priess has taken steps [by] providing a reflective piece covering his insight, remorse and reflection on the impact of his actions on the reputation of the profession.

‘The panel finds the Mr Preiss’s fitness to practise is no longer impaired because he has addressed his failings, shown insight, and the public interest issues have been resolved.’

Ramon Priess (pictured at Hendon Magistrates’ Court in March 2020) was convicted of assault after striking the four-year-old boy in front of his mother at Maximum Potential in London

Previously the HCPTS committee heard Mr Priess assaulted the boy and left him ‘crying hysterically’ during the end of a session in April 2019.

The boy – who had sensory processing difficulties – was sat on Mr Priess’ lap when he asked the child to put his shoes on.

The tribunal heard the child then ‘played dead’ or pretended to be asleep. In response, Mr Priess slapped the right side of his face several times – initially ‘leaving his cheek reddened and causing the child to cry’.

The mother witnessed the incident and spoke to the child’s father later that evening, who then sent an email to Mr Priess.

He wrote: ‘[The child] came home today distraught. I am extremely disappointed that [he] was repeatedly slapped in an aggressive manner. This is extremely disappointing and unprofessional.

‘He has been crying hysterically, this is not what I expect from a qualified professional.’

Mr Priess responded: ‘Apologies for what has happened today. This wasn’t meant to hurt him at all. He complained over pain in his mouth just before as well.

‘There is nothing I can do to justify what happened and I suppose it is probably best if [the child] stays with Maximum Potential and does not see me privately.

He was suspended for a total of nine months following the initial HCPTS tribunal and was convicted of assault following a trial at Westminster Magistrates’ Court (file photo above)

‘The lines are blurring between my professional relationship/private friendship with [the mother] and [the child]. They feel like family to me and I handled it in a way I would with my nephews and nieces.

‘Not acceptable from a professional view. I adore [the child] and can’t tell you in words how sorry I feel.’

He was suspended for a total of nine months following the initial HCPTS tribunal and was convicted of assault following a trial at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, London, and was handed a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.

He left the UK to work in Germany – where the suspension had no impact on his ability to work.

Mr Priess claims he has not worked without supervision in Germany.

Now, after being ruled fit to work again by the HCPTS, he is allowed to return to work in the UK.

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