AMSTERDAM - A St. Mary's Hospital counselor faces charges of sexual abuse after a person filed a complaint with the New York State Justice Center.
John Gaston, 62, a counselor for St. Mary's Inpatient Addictions Rehab, was charged by Amsterdam police with second-degree sexual abuse, third-degree sexual abuse, forcible touching and second-degree harassment, according to a news release from the New York State Justice Center.
According to the release, Gaston is accused of placing his hands on the breasts and buttocks of the victim.
The release said New York State Justice Center's Vulnerable Persons Central Register Hotline received a call from a supervisor. Justice Center investigators then began looking into the case.
Gaston was arraigned on the charges in City Court and was released on $1,000 bond. Justice Center Assistant Special Prosecutor Christina Calabrese will prosecute the case, the release said.
Gaston has been terminated from his job, the news release said.
In a statement from St. Mary's, spokeswoman Jerri Cortese said the hospital could not comment specifically on the accusations or Gaston's employment history.
"St. Mary's Healthcare is aware that as a result of an investigation conducted by the NYS Justice Center, charges have been filed against former employee John 'Brock' Gaston. At the time the concern became known to St. Mary's, immediate and appropriate action was taken, and St. Mary's has fully cooperated with the investigation," the statement said.
According to Justice Center Office of Communications spokeswoman Diane Ward, Gaston will appear in court Feb. 19 in City Court. Ward was unsure of the penalties Gaston could face.
The Justice Center and its statewide hot line and incident reporting system began operations June 30. It is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by professionals who receive reports of allegations of abuse and neglect of people with special needs, the release said. Once a report is received, it is logged and assessed. Serious cases of abuse or neglect are assigned to the center's investigation team or a local law-enforcement agency, according to the news release.
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