Press-Republican

June 7, 2013

Sunmount employees arrested

By SUZANNE MOORE, News Editor and LOIS CLERMONT, Editor
Press-Republican

---- — TUPPER LAKE — Two employee of Sunmount Office for People with Developmental Disabilities have been arrested within the past two months on charges involving abusive behavior toward residents.

According to press releases from the State Inspector General’s Office, John P. Boyer, 51, of Tupper Lake was arraigned Wednesday night, charged with endangering the welfare of an incompetent person.

And Derick R. Mandigo, 46, of Tupper Lake faced the same charge when he was arraigned in April.

VERBAL ABUSE

The release said Boyer admitted to authorities that, between 2008 and 2009, he subjected a resident at a Sunmount individual-residence-alternative facility to verbal abuse.

He later ranted about the incident, the release said, and his comments were caught on cellphone video.

Boyer’s position is that of a direct-support assistant, a job that involves providing personal care, treatment and rehabilitation services to residents of the alternative facility.

He was arraigned before Town Justice Leonard Young III at Tupper Lake Town Court and released on his own recognizance. He is scheduled to reappear in court on June 12.

STRUCK IN FACE

Mandigo had the same job description as Boyer and also worked at a Sunmount individual-residence-alternative facility.

He was arraigned April 10 before Justice Young and was charged with endangering the welfare of an incompetent person and official misconduct. He was released on his own recognizance.

The Inspector General’s Office said images of the August 2009 incident were captured on cellphone and that Mandigo admitted that he was verbally abusive to the resident and also that he struck the person in the face.

TAKEN OFF JOB

The arrests resulted from a joint investigation by Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott, State Police and the State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities.

“Mr. Boyer’s alleged conduct fell far below the standards New Yorkers expect and deserve,” Scott said in a statement. 

“As a caregiver, Mr. Mandigo’s alleged conduct was reprehensible and inexcusable.

“As was the case two months ago, we were able to remove a danger to residents living in this state facility” and the prosecution “should serve as a strong warning against any workers whose aggressive behavior endangers or abuses those in their care.”

Both men were placed on administrative leave as soon as Sunmount was made aware of their alleged misconduct, the release said.

“As I have said many times, there can be no tolerance for abuse of those with disabilities — especially by people who are charged with providing care for them,” Franklin County District Attorney Derek P. Champagne said in a statement.

Email Suzanne Moore:smoore@pressrepublican.com