Albany, NY – NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Special Prosecutor Patricia E. Gunning announced the sentencing of an Albany man, formerly employed as a Respite Worker at Hope House in Albany, for endangering the welfare of a child.

James Whetstone (DOB: 02/20/1984) of Albany, having pled guilty in December, was sentenced to three years’ probation by the Honorable Judge Gary F. Stiglmeier of Albany City Court. 

The Hope House facility where Whetstone was employed, and where the incident took place, is certified by the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS). 

“This plea holds the defendant accountable for his actions and spares the victim from the rigors of trial,” said Special Prosecutor Gunning. “We appreciate the swift actions of Hope House staff and administration in assisting with this investigation and successful prosecution.  We also appreciate the efforts undertaken by officials at the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services for their commitment to rooting out abuse and neglect in their facilities.”  

Supervising Assistant Special Prosecutor Rachel Dunn prosecuted the case. The Justice Center conducted the investigation and arrested the defendant with assistance by the Albany Police Department.

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.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 17, 2017   Contact Bill Reynolds (518) 549-0200