Former Arc employee guilty of rape
PENN YAN (7/13/16)--A Steuben County woman pleaded guilty last week to charges that she raped and sexually abused an individual in her care at an Arc of Yates facility in Penn Yan. The plea was announced by Yates County District Attorney Valerie Gardner and New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Special Prosecutor Patricia E. Gunning following the plea Tuesday, July 5.
Samantha Sabins, 25, of Bath was charged by District Attorney's Superior Court with one count of third degree rape, a class E felony which carries a maximum sentence of four years in state prison plus 10 years post-release supervision, in addition to sex offender reporting requirements. The defendant also waived her rights to challenge the Justice Center's administrative finding, including a ruling that may place her on the Staff Exclusion List (SEL).
Sabins entered a guilty plea to rape in the third degree July 5, before Yates County Judge W. Patrick Falvey. She was remanded to the Yates County jail in lieu of $1,500 cash bail or $3,000 bond, pending sentencing which is scheduled for Sept. 6 in Yates County Court.
Sabins is accused of having intercourse with and committing sexual abuse against a male resident at an Arc of Yates facility last year. Sabins had been a substitute staff member at an Arc of Yates residence along Elm Street in Penn Yan. She has since resigned her position.
"As district attorney, my office is committed to prosecuting all crimes against our residents," Gardner said. "Working with the Justice Center on this prosecution allows our offices to bring our collective experience and expertise in prosecuting crimes against vulnerable people to bear and ultimately to hold this defendant accountable for her conduct. I will continue to strive to bring those who abuse their authority to justice no matter their position."
Sex crimes under the state penal law include sexual contact of any kind between an employee and a resident, when the employee has reason to know the victim is a resident or inpatient at a facility operated, licensed or certified by the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).
"When a staff member, like this defendant, abuses her position of authority for her own sexual gratification, the abuse cannot be tolerated," said Special Prosecutor Gunning. "The Justice Center will continue to fight for disabled residents, who are not legally capable of consenting to sexual contact with a staff member. Working together with the district attorneys across the state, the Justice Center can ensure that New York's vulnerable population has a level playing field with all other New Yorkers when they are victimized."
The Justice Center's Assistant Special Prosecutor Jennifer Whitman jointly prosecuted the case together with Gardner. The case was investigated by the Justice Center with the assistance of the Penn Yan Police Department.
The Justice Center and its statewide hotline and incident reporting system began operations June 30, 2013. It is staffed 24-hours a day, seven days a week by trained professionals who receive reports of allegations of abuse and neglect of people with special needs. Once a report is received by its Vulnerable Persons Central Register (VPCR) Hotline, it is logged and assessed. Serious cases of abuse or neglect are assigned to the Justice Center's investigation team or, when appropriate, to a local law enforcement agency for follow-up.
The Justice Center also maintains a statewide registry of all persons who have been found to be responsible for serious or repeated acts of abuse and neglect. Once placed on the registry, known as the "Staff Exclusion List" or SEL, they are prohibited by law from ever working again with people with disabilities or special needs.
Through the services provided by the Justice Center's Individual and Family Support Unit -- victims, their families, personal representatives and guardians receive guidance and information about the reporting and investigation process and support during criminal cases and court proceedings.
The Arc of Yates is certified by OPWDD. The OPWDD is one of six state agencies under the jurisdiction of the Justice Center. The Justice Center also oversees certain facilities or programs that are operated, licensed or certified by the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), the Office of Mental Health (OMH), the Department of Health (DOH), Office for Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) and the State Education Department (SED).