Kingston, NY – NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Executive Director Denise M. Miranda announced the guilty plea of a former security guard to felony and misdemeanor charges of rape and sexual abuse of three female residents receiving addiction rehabilitation services at Samaritan Village in Ellenville.

Todd Melendez (DOB: 5/23/1985) of Albany pled guilty to:

  • Two counts of Rape in the Third Degree, a class “E” felony; and
  • One count of Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree, a class “A” misdemeanor.

Melendez pled guilty before the Honorable Donald A. Williams of Ulster County Court, and is scheduled to be sentenced October 31. Judge Williams’ promised sentence to the defendant will be eight years in state prison with fifteen years of post-release supervision with the requirement that the defendant comply with the conditions set by the Court. Melendez will also have to register as a sex offender upon his release. He has been incarcerated since his arraignment in February and will remain in custody.

“This is a victory for the victims who, while struggling to overcome addiction, bravely came forward and disclosed this defendant’s outrageous abuse of authority,” said Deputy Special Prosecutor Jacqueline Kagan, who prosecuted the case. “This plea will spare these three women from having to endure the rigors of trial and allow them to continue their recovery.”

The charges stemmed from incidents between February and June of 2016 in which the defendant engaged in criminal sexual conduct with the women. Samaritan Village terminated Melendez from his position as a security guard who primarily worked overnight hours.

Samaritan Village is licensed by the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS). Under state penal law, sexual contact of any kind between an employee and a patient, when the employee has reason to know the patient is a resident or inpatient at a facility operated or licensed by OASAS, constitutes a crime.

The case was investigated by Justice Center Investigator Tabitha Purcell together with the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and State Police Forensic Investigation Center. Kagan thanked the Albany Office of the NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force for locating and arresting the defendant and Samaritan Village for their cooperation with the investigation. She additionally thanked the Honorable Holley Carnright, Ulster County District Attorney for supporting this Justice Center-led prosecution, and OASAS officials for their cooperation in the investigation.

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.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 24, 2017   Contact: Bill Reynolds (518) 549-0200