Amenia, NY – NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Special Prosecutor Patricia E. Gunning announced a former aide previously employed by a state-operated residential facility in Amenia pled guilty to a charge he endangered a person in his care.

Eric Kellerhouse (DOB: 01-18-1979) of Poughkeepsie, pled guilty to Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree, a class “A” misdemeanor. He is scheduled to be sentenced June 19.

Kellerhouse admitted to pushing the victim, who has a developmental disability, and punching him in the chest. The incident occurred at a facility run by the Taconic Developmental Disabilities State Operations Office (DDSO), which is operated by the NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) in July 2016. Kellerhouse, a direct support aide, was terminated from his position. An employee of the Taconic DDSO reported the incident to the Justice Center.

“This defendant disregarded his training and responsibilities and instead chose to attack an individual in his care. In so doing, the defendant sullied the good work by his many conscientious and responsible co-workers,” said Special Prosecutor Gunning. “We are grateful to the mandated reporter who brought the incident to light and ultimately helped attain justice for this victim.”

Kellerhouse pled before the Honorable Norman Moore, in the Town of Amenia Justice Court. Supervising Assistant Special Prosecutor Rachel Dunn is prosecuting the case, which was investigated jointly by the New York State Police and the Justice Center. Gunning thanked the office of Dutchess County District Attorney William V. Grady for its support of the Justice Center’s prosecution of this case.

About the Justice Center

The Justice Center has statutory authority to investigate and prosecute crimes against vulnerable New Yorkers. The agency also assists to other law enforcement agencies -- such as the New York State Police, local police departments, and District Attorneys -- with their investigations that involve abuse or neglect of people with special needs.

In addition to its law enforcement authority, the Justice Center is also empowered to pursue administrative actions against staff found responsible for misconduct.   Workers found responsible for the most egregious conduct are permanently barred from employment at facilities serving vulnerable populations under the Justice Center’s jurisdiction.

The Justice Center operates a statewide, toll-free hotline for people reporting allegations of abuse, neglect, and significant incidents 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To report incidents of abuse and neglect call 1-855-373-2122.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 19, 2017   Contact: Bill Reynolds (518) 549-0200