A Mastic Beach man charged with abusing an adolescent in his care at a Smithtown-based residential program for special needs children in September 2015 has pleaded guilty and will be sentenced to a year of probation, state officials said Monday.
Nathaniel Grimes, 31, a former assistant manager at the Developmental Disabilities Institute’s Children’s Residential Program, pleaded guilty to first-degree endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person, a felony, and criminal obstruction of breathing, a misdemeanor, said officials at the New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs.
“As with many cases of pressure being applied to the neck of a victim, there was no permanent injury, but this defendant’s actions had the potential to cause serious injury or life-threatening consequences,” said Special Prosecutor Patricia E. Gunning, of the center. “The Justice Center is grateful to the conscientious staff who promptly reported the incident. Without their report this conduct would likely not have been discovered.”
Grimes, whose attorney could not be reached for comment, entered the plea before state Supreme Court Justice John B. Collins on Friday in Suffolk, a year after authorities said he “struck the victim with his hand, shoved the victim into a wall and onto the ground and put pressure on the victim’s neck.” Grimes was suspended from his position at DDI after he was charged in July, authorities said.
Under the terms of the sentence, Grimes will serve one year of interim probation and then be permitted to withdraw his plea to the felony and be sentenced to conditional discharge on the misdemeanor, authorities said. If he defaults he could be sentenced to 1- 1⁄3 to 4 years in prison.