An aide at the Sunmount Developmental Disabilities Services Office in Tupper Lake stands accused of abusing a resident after a nurse at the facility reported him to a new hotline set up for such situations.
Timothy MacCrimmon, 46, of Tupper Lake, allegedly shoved the male resident's head into a wall while walking him down a hallway and also called him a racial slur. The resident, who is semi-ambulatory and legally blind, suffered bruising and swelling to his head, according to the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs, a state agency that began operations June 30.
State police investigated the incident after the nurse called the Justice Center's Vulnerable Persons Central Register hotline. MacCrimmon was arrested Sept. 25 and charged him with first-degree endangering the welfare of an incompetent person, a class E felony. He was arraigned in Tupper Lake Town Court and released on his own recognizance. Sunmount placed him on administrative leave.
Sunmount Developmental Disabilities Services Office in Tupper Lake
(Enterprise photo — Brittany Proulx)
The Justice Center is investigating whether he can continue working with people with special needs. In addition to the hotline, the center maintains a registry of people who have abused or neglected those in state care, prohibiting them from working similar jobs in the future.
This is the first arrest in the North Country from an incident reported to the Justice Center hotline and among the first 10 or so statewide, center spokeswoman Diane Ward told the Enterprise Friday. There are also many more allegations "in the pipeline right now," she added.
Prosecution is currently in the hands of the Franklin County District Attorney's Office, but DA Derek Champagne said his office would be happy for the Justice Center, which has its own prosecutors, to take this and other Sunmount cases. That's why he welcomed Gov. Andrew Cuomo's creation of the center.
"My hope is that they'd go out and handle these cases for us so they could have consistency and handle all these cases the same," Champagne told the Enterprise Friday. "The people of this county welcome any and all assistance because that's time and resources we can spend on the other matters we're prosecuting."
Champagne said his office is still feeling out its relationship with the new Justice Center and has a meeting scheduled later this month to discuss cases like this.
"With the center coming online and with the concept of concurrent jurisdiction, it's a new era," he said.
State police Superintendent Joseph A. D'Amico praised the hotline's role in the arrest in a Justice Center press release Friday.
"This is exactly the type of unacceptable behavior that the Justice Center is designed to eliminate," D'Amico said.
Sunmount, operated by the state Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, employs hundreds of people in Tupper Lake and many more throughout the region.
OPWDD is one of six state agencies the Justice Center is involved with. The others are the Office of Mental Health, Department of Health, Office of Children and Family Services, Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, and Education Department.
The Justice Center's statewide hotline, 815-373-2122, is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Contact Peter Crowley at 518-891-2600 ext. 22 or firstname.lastname@example.org.