Bronx, NY – NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Special Prosecutor Patricia E. Gunning announced a Bronx Supreme Court Grand Jury has returned a five- count indictment against a counselor accused of abusing a 10-year-old child receiving treatment at a facility operated by the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services.

Sikiru Akande (DOB: 04/29/64) of Bronx was arraigned on October 4, 2016 in Bronx County Supreme Court before the Honorable April Newbauer on a five-count indictment charging him with:

  • One count of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the 1st Degree, a Class “E” felony;
  • One count of Endangering the Welfare of a Vulnerable Elderly Person or an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the 2nd Degree, a Class “E” Felony;
  • One count of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the 2nd Degree, a Class “A” misdemeanor;
  • One count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, a Class “A” Misdemeanor; and
  • One count of Assault in the 3rd Degree, a Class “A” Misdemeanor.

“No child should be subjected to physical or emotional abuse, especially youngsters like this 10-year-old who was placed in this facility to receive mental health services,” said Special Prosecutor Gunning.  “Holding staff who abuse service recipients accountable is the Justice Center’s top priority.”

The charges stem from an incident that occurred at the Henry Ittelson Center on June 16, 2016 in which the defendant allegedly grabbed the victim’s arm causing a fracture. Bail was set at $7000 bond or $2000 cash.  Akande is due back in court on January 3, 2017.  He was terminated from his position. The case was investigated by the Justice Center and is being prosecuted by Assistant Special Prosecutor Edwin Ferguson.

The Jewish Board is licensed by the Office of Mental Health (OMH).   OMH is one of six state agencies under the jurisdiction of the Justice Center. The Justice Center also oversees facilities or programs operated, licensed or certified by the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), the Department of Health (DOH), the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), and the State Education Department (SED).

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.