ALBANY – A Guilderland man is charged with a host of crimes for allegedly having sexual contact with a resident at Vanderheyden Hall who was in his care.
According to the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs, Justin Hope, a direct care aid at the Rensselaer County home for troubled youth, signed the victim out of the facility in August, 2016, brought her to his apartment and to a sporting event, gave her alcohol and marijuana and engaged in oral sex with her.
According to the Justice center, the resident had “intellectual disabilities.”
The incident came to light when bystanders saw Hope and the victim drinking alcohol in public and reported it to Vanderheyden Hall officials.
Patricia Gunning, the Justice Center special prosecutor, said Hope is charged with the felonies of criminal sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child as well as the misdemeanors of sexual abuse and sexual misconduct.
The law prohibits sexual contact of any kind between an employee and a resident of a facility certified by the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, according to Gunning.
“Vanderheyden Hall provides services to youth and young adult residents with a variety of disabilities and diagnoses and many residents have suffered significant trauma in their lives,” Gunning said in a statement. “For an employee to abuse their authority, as this defendant is alleged to have done, subjecting a resident to sexual abuse is a criminal act that can interfere with the very treatment Vanderheyden is providing.”
Hope was arraigned by Albany County Judge William Carter and remanded to the Albany County jail.