Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Samaritan Village security guard charged with raping patients privateofficer.com

Todd Melendez

ELLENVILLE, N.Y. Feb 7 2017 A former security guard at Samaritan Village, which provides addiction rehabilitation services, has been indicted for rape and sexual abuse involving three women who were residents at the facility, authorities said Friday.
Todd Melendez, 31, of Albany, was indicted by an Ulster County grand jury on six felony counts of rape and two misdemeanor counts of sexual abuse, special needs special prosecutor Patricia E. Gunning, of the state Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs, said in a press release.
If convicted on all charges, Melendez faces a maximum of 24 years in state prison, Gunning said.
A convicted felon, Melendez served a four-year prison sentence for a New York City robbery and was released from the Mount McGregor Correctional Facility in Saratoga County in 2013, according to the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision website.
A reporter’s calls to Samaritan Village and the Justice Center were not returned Friday.
The charges stem from alleged incidents between February and June of 2016 in which Melendez is accused of engaging in criminal sexual conduct with the victims, which included sexual intercourse with two of the women and sexual touching of the third, the Justice Center press release said.
The Justice Center did not provide accusers’ ages.
Melendez, who primarily worked overnight hours at Samaritan Village, which is at 751 Briggs Highway, was fired in June 2016, according to a press release.
Samaritan Village is licensed by the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, the release said.
Gunning, who will prosecute Melendez, said in a prepared statement: “For an employee charged with caring for individuals in recovery from addiction to target their vulnerabilities for his own sexual gratification, as this defendant is alleged to have done with three women, is unconscionable. Individuals in residential care fighting the ravages of addiction have taken a brave step. ... When that fight is derailed by someone looking to exploit their vulnerabilities, the consequences to recovery can be severe.”

Melendez was arraigned in Ulster County Court by Judge Donald A. Williams and sent to Ulster County Jail without bail. He is due back in court March 2.
Daily Freeman

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