Queens, NY – NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Special Prosecutor Patricia E. Gunning today announced the arrest of a Brooklyn man, employed as a Program Specialist at Services for the Underserved, for striking a person with developmental disabilities in his care.

Orlando Toussaint (DOB: 01/29/1970), of Brooklyn, was charged with:

  • One count of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the Second Degree, a class “A” misdemeanor; and
  • One count of Harassment in the Second Degree, a violation.

The charges stem from a March 2016 incident in which the defendant allegedly struck the victim in the head while the victim was sleeping. The facility, operated by Services for the Underserved, is licensed by the NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). The defendant was placed on administrative leave.

“The case was brought to the Justice Center’s attention by staff members employed by Services for the Underserved who witnessed the abuse,” said Special Prosecutor Gunning. “Without vigilant workers who recognize abuse and call incidents into the hotline, as happened here, abuse of vulnerable New Yorkers might go unchecked. We appreciate those who stepped up and reported this incident.”

The defendant was arraigned in Queens County Criminal Court before the Honorable Judge Elisa Koenderman and released under the court’s supervised release program. The defendant will return to court on February 10, 2017.  The Justice Center is leading the prosecution with Supervising Assistant Special Prosecutor David Kim prosecuting the case. Justice Center Investigator Anthony Pignataro conducted 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.

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.