Olean, NY – NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Special Prosecutor Patricia E. Gunning announced a direct support worker previously employed by The Rehabilitation Center in Olean pled guilty to charges related to an attempted assault of a person with developmental disabilities in his care.

Ahmad Burney (DOB: 09/27/64), of Olean pled guilty to the top count of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the Second Degree, a class "A” misdemeanor, along with one count of Attempted Assault in the Third Degree, a class "B" misdemeanor, and one count of Harassment in the Second Degree, a violation. He was sentenced to a conditional discharge, will pay a $400 fine, provide 60 hours of community service and must undergo anger management training.

“Those responsible for caring for people with disabilities cannot use violence against people unable to defend themselves,” said Special Prosecutor Gunning. “If they do, they will be held accountable. Fortunately in this case, the victim was not injured significantly, and this plea, taken mid trial, permitted the victim to avoid having to endure the stress of testifying.”  Special Prosecutor Gunning also noted the victim, who was present for the plea, indicated he felt vindication and relief. 

The charges stemmed from a February 2016 incident in which the defendant kicked a chair out from under the victim and then pulled the victim up off the floor, squeezing the victim’s neck.

Burney entered his plea in Olean City Court before the Honorable Daniel R. Palumbo of Olean City Court. Justice Center Supervising Assistant Special Prosecutor Jennifer A. Whitman prosecuted the case. The case was investigated by Justice Center investigators Stephen Knab and Timothy McDonald, with assistance from the Olean Police Department. Gunning thanked the police department for their assistance and Rehabilitation Center staff members for their extensive cooperation during the investigation and the trial.

About the Justice Center

The Justice Center began operations on June 30, 2013. It operates a toll-free hotline that receives reports of allegations of abuse, neglect and significant incidents 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Anyone who witnesses or suspects the abuse or neglect of a person with special needs can make a report. Mandated reporters who have reasonable cause to suspect that a reportable incident has occurred by staff must report it to the Justice Center immediately upon discovery.  The Justice Center is not a first responder so if a report involves an emergency situation, the caller is instructed to hang up and dial 9-1-1.

The Justice Center is authorized to investigate all reports of abuse and neglect, pursue administrative sanctions against staff found responsible for misconduct and its Special Prosecutor/Inspector General shares jurisdiction with local district attorneys to prosecute criminal offense allegations. The Justice Center notifies local district attorneys of all potential criminal cases.

Justice Center Individual and Family Support advocates provide guidance and information to victims, their families, personal representatives and guardians about the reporting and investigation process, offer support during criminal court proceedings and are available to accompany victims during interviews and court appearances.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 20, 2017

Contact: Bill Reynolds (518) 549-0200