NY social worker, 56, clinging to life after savage beating during home visit

A New York social worker is clinging to life after being savagely beaten nearly to death while conducting a home visit last month.

Maria Coto, 56, of Westchester, has been on life support ever since the savage May 14 attack in Peekskill left her with facial fractures and severe brain swelling and bleeding.

Authorities have arrested the suspected attacker, Hasseem Jenkins, 31, and charged him with attempted murder and assault with intent to cause physical injury, according to online court records.

The residential building where the assault occurred last month.
The residential building where Maria Coto was attacked last month while making a home visit. CBS

Coto was checking on a client when the unprovoked attack unfolded.

Jenkins “repeatedly punch[ed] Coto with his fists and did repeatedly kick Ms. Coto with heavy boots … above the head and body causing Ms. Coto to sustain severe brain bleed, swelling of the brain, and multiple facial fractures,” reads the criminal affidavit, obtained by the Peekskill Herald.

She was rushed to the Medical Center in Valhalla, where she underwent emergency surgery.

Coto's union said it was one of the worst attacks on a social worker to date.
Coto’s union said it was one of the worst attacks on a social worker to date. CBS

After the attack, Westchester County Executive George Latimer approved an emergency contract, expanding security escorts for social workers

Oftentimes, caseworkers will conduct home visits in pairs.

A statement from Coto’s union said it was the most horrific attack on a social worker to date.

“We are devastated our member was assaulted while working in the community,” reads the statement, adding the assault on Coto is “a tragic reminder of the risks CSEA members face providing essential services.”

The attack is not Jenkins’ first brush with the law.

He was previously busted for assaulting a 19-year-old in 2011, and he was arrested last fall by Peekskill Police on a disorderly conduct charge after punching one of his relatives.

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