Schenectady, NY – NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Special Prosecutor Patricia E. Gunning announced that a Saratoga man formerly employed as a teacher at Northern Rivers Family of Services was arrested and arraigned on endangerment and attempted assault charges for allegedly abusing one of his students.

Ryan Johnson (01/17/1972) is charged with:

  • Endangering the Welfare of a Child, a Class “A” misdemeanor;
  • Attempted Assault in the Third Degree, a Class “B” misdemeanor; and
  • Harassment in the Second Degree, a violation.

The charges stem from a March 16, 2017 incident in which the defendant removed the victim, an adolescent, from his classroom and took the youth into the hall, where he allegedly grabbed the victim near the neck area, and forced the victim against a wall. He is then alleged to have attempted to force the victim to the floor. The attack, which occurred in a Schenectady facility, ended when other Northern Rivers employees intervened.

“We appreciate the prompt actions of the staff members who intervened before the victim was injured, and who immediately reported the incident to the Justice Center,” said Special Prosecutor Gunning. “Without conscientious workers who report abuse when they see it, many instances would go undiscovered.” Gunning thanked the Office of the Schenectady County District Attorney for its support of this Justice Center led prosecution and the Schenectady Police Department who assisted with the arrest of the defendant. She noted that Northern Rivers promptly terminated the defendant after the incident.

Johnson was arraigned before the Honorable Judge Robert W. Hoffman of Schenectady City Court and released on his own recognizance. Johnson is scheduled to reappear in court on July 11. Supervising Assistant Special Prosecutor Rachel Dunn is prosecuting the case. Northern Rivers is licensed by the State Education Department.

About the Justice Center

The Justice Center operates a statewide hotline which is staffed 24-hours a day, seven days a week by trained professionals who receive reports of allegations of abuse, neglect, and significant incidents involving people with special needs. The Justice Center has authority to investigate these allegations and may also delegate responsibility for an investigation to the relevant state oversight agency.  An investigation may lead to both administrative and criminal remedies, when the evidence supports a finding that an employee or volunteer committed abuse or neglect.

The Justice Center is also dedicated to abuse prevention. Such efforts are critical to advancing the Justice Center’s mission to support and protect the health, safety, and dignity of people with special needs. In collaboration with state oversight agencies and its Advisory Council, the Justice Center identifies and develops strategic prevention initiatives. These efforts have included guidance documents, tools and training for staff and other stakeholders to enable them to take a proactive approach to creating safe, supportive, abuse-free environments. 

Editor’s note: In compliance with Rule 3.6(b)(6) of the Rules of Professional Conduct, you are advised that a charge is an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 9, 2017     Contact: Bill Reynolds (518) 549-0200