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CAC Recognizes Multi-Disciplinary Team Efforts

FULTON, NY – Members of the Child Advocacy Center’s Multi-Disciplinary Team were recently recognized at the agency’s Annual Meeting for their extraordinary investigative efforts.

Members of the Oswego County Multi-Disciplinary Team were recognized for their extraordinary investigative efforts. Back row: Sgt. Aldo Bonacci, Sgt. Damien Water, Lt. Chris Pooler and Sgt. Lorie Burger of the Oswego Police Department. Front row: Tracy Henry and Carol Gazitano of the CAC, Probation Officer Margaret Fitzgibbons and Assistant District Attorneys Courtney Haviland and Allison O’Neill. Absent from photo is Oswego County Department of Social Services Caseworker John Shambo.
Members of the Oswego County Multi-Disciplinary Team were recognized for their extraordinary investigative efforts. Back row: Sgt. Aldo Bonacci, Sgt. Damien Water, Lt. Chris Pooler and Sgt. Lorie Burger of the Oswego Police Department. Front row: Tracy Henry and Carol Gazitano of the CAC, Probation Officer Margaret Fitzgibbons and Assistant District Attorneys Courtney Haviland and Allison O’Neill. Absent from photo is Oswego County Department of Social Services Caseworker John Shambo.

Over the past year, the CAC served 475 children, provided 3,375 therapy sessions, and forensically investigated more than 140 cases.

“Our MDT members conducted 149 forensic interviews and the victim advocates gave supports for civil and criminal justice matters and social and emotional support more than 15,500 times,” said CAC Executive Director Karrie Damm. “These families need a lot of education, assistance, and support…and we are there to lend an ear or a hand whenever necessary.”

While the MDT team does a remarkable job on each and every investigation, this group of exceptional individuals was recognized for its extraordinary efforts on a particularly troubling case that epitomized the degree of collaboration between MDT members and the positive results their work brings to the abuse victim and family, the director explained.

“Their work resulted in a conviction that has placed a dangerous sexual offender behind bars for nine years with 12 years of post release supervision,” added Damm.

29-year-old Fareed Hosein sexually abused a 12-year-old girl.

He gained her trust by posing as a youth counselor and manipulated the girl to drink alcohol and smoke marijuana to a state of intoxication and then raped her.

The victim disclosed the abuse within a 24-hour period and members of the Oswego County Multi-Disciplinary Team went into immediate action.

The Oswego City Police Department quickly responded by contacting the CAC to involve the victim’s advocate and counselor.

Following a successful forensic interview that included a full disclosure, investigator Lorie Burger transported the victim to Upstate Hospital for a SANE exam.

Lead Victim Advocate Tracy Henry and counselor Carol Gazitano of the CAC met the two, along with the victim’s mother.

“This case is a perfect example of the MDT team working collaboratively to ensure the best outcome for the victim while at the hospital.  They provided advocacy to the hospital staff and saw to it that the victim was not re-traumatized by having to share her story over and over again,” explained Damm. “The Multi -Disciplinary Team enables us to offer a wide range of services to children who have been physically, sexually, or emotionally abused and their families.  Its efforts allow us to maintain an effective approach to child abuse investigation and prosecution, and service provision to families and individuals affected by child abuse.”

While the victim was at the hospital, OPD Lt. Chris Pooler and Sgts. Damien Waters and Aldo Bonacchi located Fareed and brought him in for questioning.

Fareed, a second felony offender, was on parole at the time of the crime.

Following a full confession, Fareed was arrested for rape and criminal sex act in the first degree.

“The OPD’s quick response to the case ensured safety for the victim and the community. He was arrested, arraigned and sent to Oswego County Jail with no bail with a complete stay away order of protection issued,” Damm.  said. “This all took place while the victim was still at Upstate for her exam.”

Prior to the criminal prosecution of the case, Assistant District Attorney Allison O’Neill met with the victim, victim advocate, and counselor to support and prepare her for the case.

“Thanks to the support she received from Allison, Lorie, Chris, Tracy and Carol, the victim was able to testify at grand jury trial and Fareed was indicted. Probation Officer Margaret Fitzgibbons also worked with Tracy and Carol for assistance with the victim impact statements. Additionally, DSS Caseworker John Shambo supported the family with ongoing services,” said Damm.

Tracy Henry and Carol Gazitano accompanied the victim and her mother to Fareed Hosein’s sentencing.

He was sentenced to nine years in state prison, 12 years post release supervision, an order of protection and will have to register as a sex offender upon release.

At his sentencing, MDT member Assistant District Attorney Courtney Haviland advocated for the order of protection to be issued.

“Our MDT team members clearly demonstrated the power of working collaboratively to ensure justice, victim safety, and assist the child and her family to begin healing from this trauma. Their quick response and MDT engagement with the CAC from the beginning was an extraordinary example of the best investigative team approach,” said Damm.

Comprised of a cross-section of law enforcement investigators, child protective services, medical providers, therapeutic professionals, victim support professionals, the district attorney’s office, and other human services agencies, the CAC’s Multi-Disciplinary Team maintains a well-coordinated, effective approach to child abuse investigation and prosecution, and service provision to families and individuals affected by child abuse.

Team members share pertinent information regarding the cases, and by following the CAC’s system for monitoring cases, take necessary steps to protect children, reduce the trauma to children and respective family members and pursue positive legal outcomes that meet the best interest of the child victim and their families.

Located at 301 Beech St. in Fulton, with a satellite office at 4822 Salina St., Pulaski, the CAC of Oswego County is a non-profit charitable organization that works hand-in-hand with local law enforcement, prosecution, child protective services, medical providers, therapy providers, and victim advocacy professionals in Oswego County to protect and serve children that are victims of sexual and physical abuse.

For more information on the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County, call 315-592-4453.