Amherst, NY – NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Special Prosecutor Patricia E. Gunning announced that an Amherst man formerly employed by Gateway Longview was arrested and charged with endangering and menacing a youth in his care.

Ronald Atkinson (DOB: 03/13/1957) of Amherst, is charged with:

  • Endangering the Welfare of a Child, a class “A” misdemeanor;
  • Menacing in the Third Degree, a class “B” misdemeanor; and
  • Harassment in the Second Degree, a violation.

The charges stem from an October 2016 incident in which the defendant allegedly caused the victim’s arm to hyper-extend during a restraint, which required the victim to receive medical treatment. The victim was under the age of 17. Gateway Longview, which is licensed by the NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) provides behavioral health services in a community-based setting to children and families.

“Caregivers should never resort to violence when using a physical restraint as an intervention,” said Special Prosecutor Gunning. “We are grateful to the Gateway Longview employee who reported the incident that triggered this investigation.”

Atkinson, who was employed by Gateway Longview as a youth care professional, was arraigned before the Honorable Kara Buscaglia of Amherst Town Justice Court and released on his own recognizance. He is scheduled to reappear in court on May 24. Supervising Assistant Special Prosecutor Jennifer Whitman is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by Justice Center investigator Andrew Gerken. Gunning thanked the Amherst Police Department for its assistance in the investigation.

About the Justice Center

The Justice Center operates a statewide hotline which is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by trained professionals who receive reports of allegations of abuse, neglect, and significant incidents involving people with special needs. The Justice Center has authority to investigate these allegations and may also delegate responsibility for an investigation to the relevant state oversight agency.  An investigation may lead to both administrative and criminal remedies, when the evidence supports a finding that an employee or volunteer committed abuse or neglect.

The Justice Center is also dedicated to abuse prevention. Such efforts are critical to advancing the Justice Center’s mission to support and protect the health, safety, and dignity of people with special needs. In collaboration with state oversight agencies and its Advisory Council, the Justice Center identifies and develops strategic prevention initiatives. These efforts have included guidance documents, tools and training for staff and other stakeholders to enable them to take a proactive approach to creating safe, supportive, abuse-free environments. 

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: May 2, 2017    Contact: Bill Reynolds (518) 549-0200