Records: Suit over physical abuse settled for $450k

$250K to be placed in trust for victim
Northeast Parent and Child Society in Schenectady.
Northeast Parent and Child Society in Schenectady.

ALBANY — A lawsuit filed three years ago over the alleged physical abuse of a 12-year-old boy while under the care of Northeast Parent and Child Society has been settled for $450,000, records show.

Details of the settlement, other than the dollar amount, were sealed, but the boy’s portion of the settlement, nearly $250,000, was to be placed in a special needs trust, records show.

Attorneys for the boy filed the suit in federal court in September 2015, alleging he suffered a black eye and swollen face in a June 2014 attack at the Schenectady facility, and lasting mental injuries in a second attack. Attorneys argued workers wrapped a cord around the boy’s neck in the second incident. 

Between those attacks, the attorneys said, the boy made a video in which he named the first attacker, an employee, and recorded the employee threatening him.

Attorneys for the boy, identified in court papers only as R.W., and for Northeast Parent and Child Society could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Northern Rivers Family of Services CEO William Gettman issued a statement Wednesday in response to a Daily Gazette inquiry. Northern Rivers is the parent company of Northeast.

“The health and safety of children in our care is our greatest responsibility,” Gettman wrote. “We have been full and active participants throughout the investigation. We are pleased that this process has reached resolution and continue to work every day to serve those entrusted to our care.”

The judge in the case approved the settlement in December, and it became final 60 days later, in February. The Daily Gazette learned of the settlement this week.

The total settlement was to be paid by Northern Rivers or its insurer. The amount covers attorney’s fees, litigation expenses and money to the boy’s trust.

Attorney Robert Santoriella, who represented the boy, said after filing the suit that the boy suffered lasting injuries and couldn’t even shower himself as a result.

The boy was placed with Northeast Parent and Child Society due to his family situation, not his health, his attorney said. He suffered from a learning disability but otherwise functioned fine.

Attorneys indicated in the suit that the state Justice Center investigated the incidents and issued rulings in September 2015, finding each of the allegations “substantiated.”

Attorneys contended the first attack happened June 15, 2014. An employee, who was never charged with a crime, allegedly hit the boy, causing the black eye. That employee also allegedly threatened to kill the boy. The boy caught the threat on video, using a hand-held video game system, the suit stated.

Two days later, his mother made her weekly visit to see the boy. After first being denied access, she got in to see him. She saw his injuries, and he gave her his game system with the video. She contacted city police, and an officer went to the home but made no arrest. She then showed the recording to a local news station, which aired the video.

The second attack came June 19, 2014, after the news station’s segment aired, the suit stated.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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