FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  December 28, 2016

Contact: Diane Ward, Office of Communications

(518) 549-0200

diane.ward@justicecenter.ny.gov

Watertown, NY – NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Special Prosecutor Patricia E. Gunning today announced the indictment of a former Jefferson Rehabilitation Center (JRC) aide on felony charges for failing to seek medical attention for an injured service recipient and then covering up the incident. The arrest was the result of a Justice Center investigation.

Carmela Crandall (DOB: 04/03/80) of Watertown appeared before the Honorable Kim H. Martusewicz  in Jefferson County Court on December 23, 2016 and was arraigned on the following charges:

  • 1 count of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the First Degree, a class “E” felony;
  • 1 count of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the Second Degree, a class “A” Misdemeanor;
  • 2 counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class “E” Felony; and
  • 2 counts of Falsifying Business Records in the Second Degree, a class “A” misdemeanor.

The defendant was released to a pretrial release program.  Crandall has been terminated from her position.

The charges in this case stem from an incident that occurred in July of 2016 in which the defendant allegedly failed to use proper procedures and equipment while moving the service recipient. The woman fell to the floor, suffering bruises and a bloody nose.  It is further alleged that the defendant failed to seek medical attention for the service recipient or inform a supervisor of the incident. The defendant is also alleged to have failed to document the incident and attempted to cover it up by cleaning and hiding bloody items.

“Facilities train staff to follow proper procedures to ensure that service recipients are safe.  Defendants who choose to disregard these procedures, fail to provide medical attention for injuries and intentionally cover up their conduct, like this defendant is alleged to have done, must be held accountable,” said Special Prosecutor Gunning.  “We are grateful to those conscientious employees who came forward and made a report when they saw something was wrong.”

Justice Center Supervising Assistant Special Prosecutor Linda Gafford is prosecuting the case.

JRC is licensed and certified by the NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities.

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.

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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.