CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - A personal care nurse faces criminal charges for assaulting a 4-year-old special needs child.

Lori Gulley, an employee of Maxim Health Services, is accused of repeatedly hitting one of her patients, a boy with cerebral palsy.

The boy's mother, Angela Winton, tells Channel 3 Eyewitness News that the incident happened about 20 minutes after Gulley arrived at the house on Thursday morning.

Winton says her husband heard slapping and their son, Isaiah, screaming so he ran downstairs to find out what was happening. Gulley allegedly admitted to hitting the boy, which prompted Shawn Winton to call 911.

Sam Hixon of Maxim Healthcare Services tells us Gulley is suspended without pay pending the investigation.

The Wintons want to know why the responding police officer did not arrest the nurse, but instead issued a written citation for Gulley to turn herself in at a later date.

Chattanooga police tell us that's because the assault was not life-threatening. If the attack had been severe enough to meet the standard for an Aggravated Assault charge, Gulley would have been taken to jail.

She has 31 days to turn herself in to a magistrate. At that time, a formal court date will be set.