Brooklyn, NY – NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Special Prosecutor Patricia E. Gunning announced the arrest of a security guard contracted by Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn on charges he put a person with mental illness in a stranglehold and punched the victim.

Maurice Dunlap (01/27/1978) is charged with:

  • One count of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the First Degree, a class "E" felony;
  • One count of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the Second Degree, a class "A" misdemeanor;
  • One count of Criminal Obstruction of Breathing or Blood Circulation, a class "A" misdemeanor;
  • One count of Assault in the Third Degree, a class "A" misdemeanor; and
  • One count of Harassment in the Second Degree, a violation.

The charges stem from a January 2017 incident in which the defendant allegedly put his arm around the victim’s neck and lifted the victim off the ground, and punched the victim in the face.

“Putting pressure on a person’s neck is unacceptable and dangerous. Workers who disregard their responsibilities, putting vulnerable victims in a stranglehold and punching them, as this defendant is alleged to have done, must be held accountable,” said Special Prosecutor Gunning. “In this case the victim suffered injuries. Fortunately they were not more severe.” Gunning thanked the office of Acting Kings County District Attorney Eric Gonzalez for its support of this Justice Center led prosecution.

Dunlap, who was suspended from his position, was arraigned before the Honorable Judge Sharen Hudson of Kings County Criminal Court and released on his own recognizance. Dunlap is scheduled to reappear in court August 8. Supervising Assistant Special Prosecutor David Kim is prosecuting the case, which is being investigated by Justice Center investigator Edgar Bourdon. The psychiatric wing of Interfaith Medical facility where the incident occurred is licensed by the NYS Office of Mental Health.

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