Updated 08/17/2012 05:18 PM
Former Hillside Staff Member Arrested
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A former Hillside Children's Center staff member was arraigned in Rochester City Court Friday morning.
New York State Police said Matthew King, 29, of Rochester, had sexual contact with a 15-year-old resident while working as a youth care professional at Hillside Children's Center.
Hillside Executive Director Karen Zandi explains youth care professionals work with kids in all different capacities, from the residence halls to counseling. Police said it was in those residence halls that King met the 15-year-old.
Investigators said most of the incidents of abuse happened in different rooms on the campus in June, July and other dates this year. At least one other incident happened away from Hillside.
Investigators say they were called in after the teen eventually disclosed what had been happening to a staff member, who then reported it.
Zandi said once the allegations about King surfaced, he was immediately suspended, never returned to work, and then was fired at the end of July.
King pleaded not guilty Friday to five counts of criminal sexual act and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
"We have a pretty rigorous new employee training that orients people to the expectations of their job, their professional boundaries, their expectation of honoring the treatment relationship," said Zandi. "We're very clear with employees at the onset about the need to respect those professional boundaries. And if they are violated we're very clear with employees that we will work with law enforcement."
Zandi said King was an employee at Hillside for a year and a half. Like others he underwent an extensive background check that raised no red flags.
State Police say King worked in other places as a youth leader and sports instructor. They're investigating now if there are any other victims.
"He does have a background of working with different camps in the New York state area and those have been contacted," said State Police Investigator Bryan Blum. "We're just looking for any suspicious activity."
Zandi says they are reviewing all their policies and procedures and trying to determine what they can do better.
"The care and treatment of kids has been our primary focus for over 175 years," explained Zandi. "Hillside has been very focused on improving care to kids. It would be important for us to always evaluate that in a circumstance like this."
King was remanded to the Monroe County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail. An order of protection was also issued for the alleged victim.
King is scheduled to return to court August 21st.
State Police investigators are asking anyone with any information to call (585) 279-0144.