Bronx, NY – NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Special Prosecutor Patricia E. Gunning announced that a Bronx man, formerly employed by Community Access, a nonprofit which provides services to people receiving mental health services, pled guilty to charges he repeatedly punched a person in his care in the face, rendering the victim unconscious.

William Roberts (DOB: 04/14/59) pled guilty in Bronx Supreme Court to Attempted Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the First Degree, a class “A” misdemeanor, before the Honorable Marc Whiten. Roberts will be sentenced on May 19 to a term of probation, a full order of protection and he has waived his right to appeal any administrative finding by the Justice Center.

“The defendant unnecessarily used excessive force to subdue a person with disabilities in his care,” said Special Prosecutor Gunning. “This plea holds the defendant accountable for his conduct. We are grateful to the Bronx District Attorney and her staff, for their dedication in combatting abuse and neglect of vulnerable persons who require care. Our joint prosecutions help to ensure that all available law enforcement resources are brought to bear on those who victimize people with special needs.”

The case, which stems from an incident in May 2015, was co-prosecuted by Justice Center Assistant Special Prosecutor Edwin Ferguson and Bronx Assistant District Attorney Kellyanne Holohan. It was investigated by Justice Center Investigator Anthony Pignataro.

About the Justice Center

The Justice Center works in cooperation with local law enforcement agencies and District Attorneys to bring charges against individuals accused of abuse or neglect that involve criminal acts. The Justice Center’s Special Prosecutor has authority to prosecute cases and, when agreed to by both the District Attorney and the Office of the Special Prosecutor/Inspector General, jointly prosecutes cases with county District Attorneys. The Justice Center also provides assistance to county District Attorney who are prosecuting cases involving people with disabilities.

As part of this collaboration, the Justice Center notifies county District Attorneys of every case of abuse and neglect received by the Justice Center in their jurisdiction. In addition to criminal penalties, defendants in criminal cases will have their cases administratively reviewed by the Justice Center, which may subject them to placement on the Justice Center’s Staff Exclusion List. Individuals placed on the list are prohibited from working with people with special needs in settings under the Justice Center’s jurisdiction.

The Justice Center also supports victims, their families, personal representatives, and guardians. Individual and Family Support advocates provide guidance and information about the Justice Center’s reporting and investigation process. Advocates are available to accompany victims during interviews and criminal court proceedings.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 6, 2017   Contact: Bill Reynolds (518) 549-0200