Berkshire Farm clinician charged with sex abuse

CANAAN—State Police from the Livingston barracks arrested a staff member at Berkshire Farm Center for sexual abuse.

Kelli R. Wagers, 39, of Philmont was charged with two counts of second degree criminal sex act, a class E felony; endangering the welfare of a child, a class A misdemeanor; and two counts of third degree sexual abuse, a class B misdemeanor, June 21.

State Police investigators were alerted June 17 by Berkshire Farm Center and Services for Youth staff of possible sexual abuse by an employee.

Their investigation determined that Ms. Wagers, employed as a clinician at Berkshire Farm Center, allegedly committed two sexual acts and instances of sexual abuse, with a victim under the age of 17-years-old while at the facility.

Berkshire Farm Center is a residential treatment facility for troubled youth.

Ms. Wagers was arraigned in Livingston Court and sent to the Columbia County Jail in lieu of $15,000 cash bail or $30,000 secure bond by Justice Harold Weaver. She is next scheduled to appear in Livingston Court at a later date.


Nickeita M. Givens, 30, of Delaware, OH, was charged with second degree criminal possession of a weapon, a class C felony, and third degree criminal possession of a weapon, a class D felony, by State Police from Livingston, June 22.

Troopers conducted a vehicle and traffic stop on a 2010 Hyundai Sonata for a violation of the vehicle and traffic law on the Taconic State Parkway in Gallatin, Saturday, June 22 at 4 a.m. An investigation found Ms. Givens allegedly illegally possessed a 9 mm Ruger EC9s, and a high-capacity magazine.

She was arraigned in Livingston Court before Justice Harold Weaver and was sent to the Columbia County Jail in lieu of $1,000 cash bail or $2,000 secure bond. She will appear in Gallatin Court at a later date.


Omar Hassan, 28, of Cortlandt (Westchester County), and Jonathan A. Barham, 32, of Deer Park (Suffolk County) were charged with third degree burglary, a class D felony, by State Police, June 16.

Troopers responded to the Citgo gas station at 310 Rigor Hill Road in Austerlitz, June 15 at 7:20 a.m. for a report of a burglary.

An investigation found that the men allegedly illegally entered the building to steal cigarettes, lottery tickets, and money from an automatic teller machine. Mr. Hassan and Mr. Barham were found and arrested June 16.

Both subjects were arraigned in Greenport Court before Justice John J. Porreca and were sent to the Columbia County Jail without bail. Both subjects are scheduled to appear in Austerlitz Court at a later date.


Robert Coons, 59, of Valatie was charged with third degree assault, a class A misdemeanor, and unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation, by Sheriff’s Deputy Timothy Gladwin, June 12 at 6:40 p.m.

Mr. Coons is accused of punching a male victim in the head causing injury. The incident occurred at a private address in Valatie. At the time of his arrest, Mr. Coons allegedly possessed a quantity of marijuana. He was arraigned in

Stockport Court and was released on his own recognizance to appear in Kinderhook Town Court at a later date.


Chad Scott, 25, of Ancram was charged on a warrant for petit larceny, a class A misdemeanor, and second degree harassment, a violation, by Sheriff’s Sergeant Jeffrey Hofstetter and Deputy Samantha Plass, June 14 at 2:16 p.m.

Mr. Scott is accused of stealing cash from a female victim in Copake and pushing her. He was arraigned in Copake Court and was released on his own recognizance to reappear at a later date.

To contact Diane Valden email

Philmont man pleads guilty in child porn case

ALBANY—James A. Brady, 68, of Philmont pleaded guilty to distributing and possessing child pornography in United States District Court for the Northern District of New York June 25.

The announcement was made by in a press release from United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and James N. Hendricks, special agent in charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

As part of his guilty plea, Mr. Brady admitted to using a desktop computer equipped with peer-to-peer file-sharing software to download and distribute child pornography. Overall, Mr. Brady downloaded and retained more than 200 videos and images depicting child pornography.

In an Internet Crimes Against Children joint task force case, Mr. Brady, a 30-year resident of Philmont, was charged with receipt and distribution of child pornography, March 1, 2018.
Federal agents and State Police executed a federal search warrant at Mr. Brady’s residence on Eagle Street in the village March 1. Evidence was secured and Mr. Brady was subsequently arrested. At that time he was arraigned in Albany at the U.S. District Court and sent to the Rensselaer County Jail without bail.
Sentencing is scheduled for November 12 before Senior United States Judge Thomas J. McAvoy.

Mr. Brady, who is detained pending sentencing, faces at least 5 years and up to 20 years in prison, and a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of at least 5 years and up to life.

A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors. Mr. Brady will also be required to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison, according to the release.

This case was investigated by the State Police and the FBI, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sahar L. Amandolare.

Launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, Project Safe Childhood is led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS). Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood visit

Man sentenced for illegal surveillance

HUDSON—In recent Columbia County Court action according to information provided by the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office:

*Joseph Shaw, 23, of Schodack Landing was sentenced by Columbia County Judge Jonathan D. Nichols, May 30, to six months incarceration in the Columbia County Jail followed by five years of probation. The judge also executed an order of protection against Mr. Shaw upon his conviction of second degree unlawful surveillance. The defendant committed the crime in the Town of Kinderhook. State Police Investigator James Sokolowski investigated this matter and arrested Mr. Shaw, who was represented by the Public Defender.

*Christopher Louise, 21, of Philmont was sentenced to two months of weekends in the Columbia County Jail, five years of probation and the Columbia County Court executed an order of protection, upon his conviction of second degree attempted burglary, June 13. Mr. Louise committed the crime in the Village of Chatham. State Police Investigator Eric Harris handled the case and arrested Mr. Louise, who was represented by the Public Defender. —Diane Valden

Strength, finesse required. Chatham firefighters hone their extrication skills with the “Jaws of Life” during a recent drill at the firehouse. Use of this equipment requires not only strength but also precision and finesse. The egg being carried was raw and uncooked. Pictured are firefighter and Village Trustee Peter Minahan (l) and firefighter Larry Domkoski. Photo contributed



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