Saugerties, NY – NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Special Prosecutor Patricia E. Gunning announced an employee of The Arc Ulster-Greene pled guilty to charges he abused a person with disabilities in his care.

John Walker (DOB: 10/06/1987) of Kingston pled guilty to Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent Person in the Second Degree, a class "A" misdemeanor. The plea comes with a recommended sentence of two years’ probation, a full order of protection, resignation of his position at ARC of Ulster-Greene, and waiver of appeal.  The defendant also waived his right to appeal administrative findings by the Justice Center.

The charges stem from an incident in June 2016 in which Walker allegedly yelled at and struck the victim in the face while assisting the victim from the lavatory of a residential facility.

“Although the job of a direct care worker can be difficult, there is no excuse for physical abuse,” said Special Prosecutor Gunning. “Here, the worker admitted what he had done, and has been held accountable.”

The defendant entered his guilty plea before the Honorable Daniel N. Lamb of Town of Saugerties Justice Court. Walker, employed as a Residential Specialist, was suspended from his position at the time of his arrest in August. The case was investigated by the Saugerties Police Department, with assistance by the Justice Center, and prosecuted by Justice Center Assistant Special Prosecutor Deanndra Macomber.

Walker is scheduled to be sentenced December 21, 2016.

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.