A Mastic Beach man has pleaded not guilty to charges that he abused an adolescent in his care at a residential program for special needs children last September in Smithtown.
Nathaniel Grimes, 31, an assistant manager at the Developmental Disabilities Institute’s Children’s Residential Program, “allegedly struck the victim with his hand, shoved the victim into a wall and onto the ground and put pressure on the victim’s neck” — using his hand, authorities said Wednesday.
The four-count indictment, returned last week, charged Grimes with first-degree endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person, criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, third-degree attempted assault and second-degree harassment, officials said.
Grimes was suspended from his position at DDI, authorities said. He was released on his own recognizance last week after pleading not guilty to all of the charges, records indicate.
The case against Grimes was announced by Patricia E. Gunning, special prosecutor for the New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs, who said in a statement released Wednesday: “Those who assume the responsibility of caring for vulnerable New Yorkers, youth in particular, must be held accountable for endangering people in their care. While there was no injury in this case, putting pressure to the neck is an extremely dangerous action that can have serious and potentially life-threatening consequences.”