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Long IslandCrime

Ridge man neglected adults at Centereach care facility, officials say

Andrew Hatcher, 28, a former Direct Support Assistant

Andrew Hatcher, 28, a former Direct Support Assistant at the state-run group home Centereach Intermediate Care Facility in Centereach, was charged with first-degree endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person. Photo Credit: NYS Attorney General

A Ridge man pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that he neglected two developmentally disabled adults in his care at a state-run Centereach group home, court records and officials said.

Andrew Hatcher, 28, was arraigned before Suffolk Supreme Court Justice John Collins after a grand jury indictment late last month on the charges, which were filed by state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, court records show.

He was charged with first-degree endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person, an E felony, according to court records, and was released on his own recognizance.

The felony is punishable by up to 4 years in prison.

Neither Hatcher nor his attorney, Craig McElwee of North Babylon, could be reached for comment Monday. Court records show Hatcher is due back in court on June 12.

Prosecutors said Hatcher failed to care for the two residents of Centereach Intermediate Care Facility, including neglecting to check on them every 15 minutes, as required. Prosecutors also said that, during the overnight shift from June 18 to 19 of 2013, Hatcher tied a 59-year-old resident to her bed; she was discovered the next morning soaked in urine, with bruises on her feet and right leg.

“When a New Yorker requires the help of a group home caregiver, they expect the health care professional to act as such,” Schneiderman said in a news release. “At the very least they expect to be treated with dignity and respect — that’s a human right. My office has zero tolerance for those who trample upon that right, and we’ll continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute those individuals who prey upon our vulnerable and defenseless citizens.”

The facility suspended Hatcher after the alleged incidents, state officials said.

Scott Sandman, a spokesman for the state Office for People With Developmental Disabilities in Albany, which oversees the facility, declined to comment Monday but said Hatcher resigned on June 30, 2014.

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