Lawsuit: Residence for brain-injured people hid sex abuse

AP News
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Posted: Apr 07, 2016 1:54 PM

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A federal lawsuit alleges administrators at a residence for brain-injured people covered up a patient's sex abuse last year, allowing the employee to repeat it.

The patient is a military veteran in her 50s who was injured in a motorcycle accident and has the functional capacity of a 12-year-old.

The lawsuit says Joseph Faraone, a retired priest working at the nonprofit Hudson Valley Cerebral Palsy Association, made her perform oral sex on him in a courtyard in June. Other staff reported the abuse to supervisors, but it was repeated three months later in an elevator, according to the lawsuit.

The elevator assault was captured on video from a cellphone that a suspicious co-worker had left behind, and Faraone was immediately arrested after police saw it, said the patient's attorney, Robert Santoriella.

"We have witnesses, about four or five witnesses, specifically detailing sexual abuse that took place in the courtyard," Santoriella said Thursday. Facility administrators simply said Faraone shouldn't work directly with the woman anymore, he said.

Faraone has been jailed and indicted on sex abuse charges in the disabled woman's case, Putnam County prosecutors said. He faces felony and misdemeanor counts. Faraone is being represented by Putnam County Legal Aid, which didn't respond to requests for comment.

Calls to association administrators weren't immediately returned Thursday.

A friend of the patient's filed the lawsuit, which seeks damages for emotional harm and rights violations. Santoriella said the patient has since been moved to a different group home run by the association. She has no family members actively involved in her life, he said.

The Putnam County Courier reported after his arrest in September that Faraone, then 68, had retired from the priesthood several years earlier. He won $1.1 million in the state lottery in 1985.