Hamburg, NY – NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Special Prosecutor Patricia E. Gunning announced the arrest and arraignment of a teaching assistant at Randolph Academy for allegedly abusing a student and for making false statements in the records about the incident.  Randolph Academy is a Special Act public school which was created by the State Legislature to provide educational services to students with emotional and behavioral needs.

Sean Callaghan (DOB: 05/29/64) of Salamanca, New York appeared in Hamburg Town Court on February 10, 2017 before the Honorable Gerald P. Gorman and was arraigned on the following charges:

  •          One count of Criminal Obstruction of Breathing, a class “A” misdemeanor;
  •          One count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, a class “A” misdemeanor;
  •          One count of Falsifying Business Records in the Second Degree, a class “A” misdemeanor; and
  •          One count of Harassment in the Second Degree, a violation.

Callaghan was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court on March 10, 2017 at 10:00 am.

“While the victim in this case was not injured, applying pressure to a person’s neck can quickly lead to unconsciousness and is potentially lethal,” said Special Prosecutor Gunning. “School personnel, like this defendant, who attack at-risk youth in their care will be held accountable.”

The charges in this case stem from an incident that occurred on March 31, 2016 at the school. The defendant is alleged to have pushed the victim into a wall by holding the victim by the neck for some time.  It is further alleged that the defendant made false statements in the school’s records about the incident.

Justice Center Assistant Special Prosecutor Robin Unwin is prosecuting the case which was investigated by Justice Center Investigators Lisa Rhoney and Timothy McDonald. Special Prosecutor Gunning thanked Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn for his support of this prosecution.


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.


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:  February 13, 2017

Contact: Diane Ward, Office of Communications

(518) 549-0200