This is the History of and Reporting Guide for Hillside Children's Center in Rochester, NY

(a.k.a. Hillside Family of Agencies)


On this page you will find incomplete staff and complaint histories with sources cited (i.e. Progress Report), the general advisory against segregated congregate care with sources cited, and a reporting guide for those unlawfully harmed or firsthand witnesses to unlawful harm by or at this location to report violations of the law to the proper authorities/law enforcement.  The staff list itself will not be updated with additional names out of a sense of fairness where those providing the names ask for anonymity or confidentiality.  And, this program will remain eligible for merciful release if all criteria are met and no guest sermon is provided by a qualifying sponsor by that time.  In the meantime, it can graduate the COPE Conversion Program by meeting the Honesty In Marketing Standards (HIMS) or permanently close to be removed from the watch-list/released from the COPE Conversion Program.  If permanently closed prior to graduation or merciful release, it will be buried in the virtual graveyard




Additional Information
Jessica L. Wright Therapist (Former?)  
Renee Greco Staff (Deceased)  
John Marko Staff (Former?)  
John E. VanDusen Staff (Former)  
John Van de Wetering Chairman  
Dennis M. Richardson President/CEO  

Updated 06/23/2009 10:32 AM

Hillside Focuses on Safety of Kids, Staff

By: Cristina Domingues

A vigil was held Monday night in Niagara County for a worker killed at the group home where she worked.

The Lockport community came together to remember Renee Greco, 24. She died, allegedly, at the hands of two teens that lived there.

Authorities charged Anthony Allen, 18, and Robert Thousand, 17, both of Rochester, with Greco's death.

After the Lockport tragedy, leaders at Hillside Family of Agencies in Rochester said they took a good look at their own programs and policies in an effort to prevent what happened in Niagara County from happening here.


Man Accused of Sexually Abusing Infant Girl

By: Sheba Clarke

A Seneca County man is behind bars for allegedly sexually abusing a one-year-old girl.

An investigator with the Seneca County Sheriff's Office says 57-year old John Marko was also an employee at Hillside Children's Center in Varick.


Therapist had sex with teen

By John Zick January 29th, 2010

BATH - A 28-year-old therapist has been arrested for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old boy at the Snell Farm residential facility in Bath.
Jessica L. Wright, 28, of Taylor Street, Hornell, was charged Thursday with third-degree rape, third-degree criminal sexual act and endangering the welfare of a child. Both sex charges are class E felonies punishable by up to four years in state prison.
According to Bath-based state police, Wright, who works at Snell Farm as a socio-therapist, had sex with a 15-year-old boy on multiple occasions between the summer of 2008 and the fall of 2009.
Hillside Children’s Center, which operates Snell Farm, released a statement about the arrest but did not address Wright’s employment status.


Auburn man who helped girl escape from Hillside Children's Center now charged with rape, troopers say

Published: Monday, February 27, 2012, 6:47 PM     Updated: Monday, February 27, 2012, 8:20 PM
Auburn, NY -- A Hillside Children's Center employee previously charged with helping a 17-year-old girl escape last August has now been charged with rape and criminal sale of marijuana, state police said.

John E. VanDusen, 30, of 3330 Franklin St. Road, faces two third-degree rape counts and one second-degree criminal sale of marijuana count, troopers said. He had been charged in January with escape and custodial interference, as well as marijuana charges.

The new charges stem from a search today at VanDusen's residence. Troopers accused him of having sexual intercourse with a Hillside resident and providing marijuana to a person less than 18 years old.

Hillside provides services to youth who have social and behavioral challenges. VanDusen was suspended without pay after the first charges against him.


Former Hillside employee charged with rape
updated 2/27/2012 8:46:58 PM ET 2012-02-28T01:46:58
A former Hillside Children's Center employee is under arrest, after State Police say he sold marijuana to and had sex with a Hillside resident.


30-year-old John VanDusen, of Auburn, is charged with two counts of rape and one count of criminal sale of marijuana, all felony charges. Police say VanDusen, who used to work for Hillside, had sex with a female who was a resident at the Hillside Children's Center in 2011. Police also say VanDusen gave marijuana to the girl.

VanDusen was previously arrested after police say he helped the same girl escape from the Hillside Children's Center in Sennett back in August of 2011. He was charged with escape and custodial interference in that incident, as well as criminal possession of marijuana. Police say at the time, VanDusen was also unlawfully growing marijuana.

The new charges stem from instances that police say happened after VanDusen allegedly helped the girl escape from Hillside. Police also say VanDusen was no longer a Hillside employee at the time of the alleged rape.

For more Rochester, N.Y. news, visit our website


Laura I. M. v Hillside Children's Ctr.


Laura I.M. v Hillside Children's Ctr. 2007 NY Slip Op 08279 [45 AD3d 260] November 1, 2007 Appellate Division, First Department Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431. As corrected through Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Laura I.M. et al., Respondents,
Hillside Children's Center, Appellant.

—[*1] Congdan, Flaherty, O'Callaghan, Reid, Donlon, Travis & Fishlinger, Uniondale (Kathleen D. Foley of counsel), for appellant.

Madeline Lee Bryer, P.C., New York City (Jonathan I. Edelstein of counsel), for respondents.

Order, Supreme Court, New York County (Shirley Werner Kornreich, J.), entered October 20, 2006, which, to the extent appealed from, granted plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment as to liability for negligent failure to exercise professional judgment, and denied defendant's cross motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint, unanimously affirmed, without costs.

For purposes of this appeal, it is undisputed that the two infant plaintiffs were sexually abused by Sergey Reznikov, a young man who sometimes served as their babysitter, at various points in time during 1997 and 1998. In April 1998, the mother of the infant plaintiffs learned of Reznikov's abuse and reported it to the police. Reznikov subsequently pleaded guilty to charges of sexual abuse and child endangerment based on offending behavior against one of the infant plaintiffs that was committed between December 1997 and March 1998.

Plaintiffs have commenced this action against defendant Hillside Children's Center (Hillside), a treatment facility for emotionally disturbed children aged 10 to 18, to recover damages for the instances of Reznikov's abuse that occurred after October 14, 1997, the date Reznikov was voluntarily admitted to Hillside as an inpatient.[FN*] It is undisputed that Reznikov came to Hillside with a well-documented prior history of pedophilic behavior and of aggressively seeking out and cultivating opportunities to engage in such conduct. This history included his having molested several children at his previous treatment facility, which led to his arrest on a charge of sodomy in the second degree and his transfer to Hillside for the specific purpose of treating his pedophilic tendencies. As Reznikov stated in his application to Hillside, the reason he sought admission there was "to treat my sexual issues so I can control my sexual impulses." [*2]

Upon admitting Reznikov, Hillside classified him as a "status 3" client. According to Hillside's policy manual, a "status 3" client requires "monitoring at all times, except when . . . bathing, showering, dressing, toileting, or in [his] room." The manual gives the following explanation for such supervision: "Without this intervention, clients may enter into, or engage in, situations which could lead to danger to self, others, or . . . property destruction."

During his residency at Hillside, Reznikov was permitted to make unaccompanied weekend visits to his home in New York City; during these visits, Reznikov was supervised (according to Hillside) by his mother and an older sister. The home visits were approved by Reznikov's therapist at Hillside, social worker Wendy Yost; it is not clear from the record whether Hillside's staff psychiatrist, or any other Hillside professionals, participated in the decision to permit such visits. Due to Hillside's invocation of Reznikov's physician-patient privilege, testimony and documents evidencing the specific deliberations that led to the judgment to permit Reznikov's home visits have been deemed inadmissible. Yost and one of her supervisors, counselor Charles Weld, did testify, however, that factors generally considered in determining whether to permit such home visits were the client's progress in treatment, the likelihood of harm to the client or others during such a visit, and the ability of the client's family to provide supervision.

The abuse for which plaintiffs seek recovery occurred during the home visits Reznikov made in the course of his residency at Hillside. Reznikov, who had befriended plaintiffs before he was admitted to Hillside, babysat for the infant plaintiffs during such home visits and, while doing so, sexually abused them. It is plaintiffs' contention that Hillside, in permitting Reznikov to make unaccompanied visits home in spite of his known pedophilic proclivities, did not merely make an honest error of professional judgment, but simply failed to exercise any professional judgment, thereby incurring liability to persons foreseeably harmed as a result of that failure (see Huntley v State of New York, 62 NY2d 134 [1984]; Rattray v State of New York, 223 AD2d 356 [1996]; Bell v New York City Health & Hosps. Corp., 90 AD2d 270 [1982]). Hillside, while arguing that any direct evidence of its consideration of Reznikov's request for permission to make home visits is shielded by Reznikov's unwaived physician-patient privilege, contends that the testimony by Weld and Yost as to the factors the institution generally considers in determining whether to allow home visitation suffices to establish that it exercised professional judgment in granting that privilege to Reznikov. In any event, the rule is that if Hillside did exercise professional judgment in allowing the home visitation, it cannot be held liable, even if it is clear, in light of subsequent events, that the institution erred in exercising its judgment (see Schrempf v State of New York, 66 NY2d 289 [1985]).

After discovery, plaintiffs moved for summary judgment as to liability, and Hillside cross-moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint. Supreme Court granted the motion in pertinent part, and denied the cross motion. On Hillside's appeal, we affirm.

Plaintiffs met their burden, as movants for summary judgment, to establish a prima facie case for Hillside's liability by submitting the deposition testimony of Eleonora Reznikov, Sergey Reznikov's mother. Ms. Reznikov testified, in substance, that, although she was unable to prevent her son from molesting children while he was visiting her, no Hillside professional had discussed with her whether she would be capable of supervising him during his home visits. Specifically, Ms. Reznikov gave the following testimony:

"Q. Now, at the time that you took Sergey to Hillside, were you able to manage Sergey at home?

"A. No.

"Q. Were you able to control Sergey at home?

"A. No.

"Q. Were you able to prevent him from molesting children while he was home?

"A. No, I couldn't. . . .

"Q. When Sergey came home alone for weekends from Hillside Hospital, were you able to manage him?

"A. No. . . .

"Q. Did you ever tell anyone at Hillside that you could not supervise your son on the weekends that he was home?

"A. We did not discuss that question." (Emphasis added.)

We fail to see how Hillside could have exercised professional judgment in determining that it was appropriate to permit Reznikov to make home visits if the institution had not even discussed with his mother whether she had the ability to supervise her son during such visits so as to prevent him from relapsing into pedophilic behavior (see Bell, 90 AD2d at 282-283 [affirming judgment against psychiatric hospital where the decision to release plaintiff, who subsequently attempted suicide, "was not a professional medical judgment as it was not founded upon a careful examination" of all relevant facts]; Winters v New York City Health & Hosps. Corp., 223 AD2d 405 [1996] [resident psychiatrist's release of patient without inquiring into the nature of his auditory hallucinations, and the phrase he kept repeating to himself, provided grounds for holding hospital liable for death of person the patient killed after being released]). Since Hillside did not offer any evidence to rebut Ms. Reznikov's statement (in response to a question by Hillside's counsel) that no one from the Hillside staff ever discussed with her whether she could supervise her son, no triable issue exists on this key point. Consequently, plaintiffs are entitled to judgment as to liability as a matter of law, without regard to any of the other legal and factual issues disputed by the parties.

While the foregoing suffices to require affirmance, we also note that the record shows that, on or about January 2, 1998, Reznikov induced the mother of the infant plaintiffs to write a letter of that date to Ms. Yost, the social worker who served as Reznikov's primary therapist at Hillside, requesting that Reznikov be given permission to make telephone calls to plaintiffs from Hillside. The handwritten letter, which Reznikov personally delivered to Ms. Yost, informed her, among other things, that the infant plaintiffs and their mother were "very fond" of Reznikov; [*3]that the mother met Reznikov "through my boys who are now 9-10 ready to be 10-11"; and that Reznikov "has babysat with them extensively." The letter concluded: "I think [Reznikov] is a wonderful, kind and very sensitive kid!" Although plaintiffs have not appealed from Supreme Court's determination that this letter does not create an issue as to whether Hillside had a duty to warn them about Reznikov's proclivities, it is disturbing that Ms. Yost, by her own admission, did not bring the letter to the attention of the psychiatrist on Hillside's staff, of her supervisor, Mr. Weld, or of Peter Goodman, another person who supervised her work. Ms. Yost's undisputed failure to inform the psychiatrist responsible for Reznikov's care of the aforementioned letter, so that, at a minimum, Reznikov's home-visitation privileges could be reassessed by a qualified psychiatrist in light of such information, constitutes an independent ground for granting plaintiffs summary judgment as to liability for abuse that occurred after the delivery of the letter (see Huntley, 62 NY2d at 136-137 [failure of a hospital employee to transmit information about a psychiatric patient's suicide plans to the staff psychiatrist who controlled the patient's leave privileges rendered the hospital liable for negligence]).

In closing, we note that we make no suggestion that it was inappropriate for Hillside, in treating Reznikov, to consider whether to allow him home visitation. The determination to allow such visits could be made, however, only after Hillside had determined, in the exercise of its professional judgment, that Reznikov did not pose an undue risk of danger to those with whom he would come into contact. The existing record, even circumscribed as it is by Hillside's invocation of the physician-patient privilege, demonstrates that Hillside failed to exercise such professional judgment.

We have considered Hillside's remaining contentions and find them unavailing. Concur—Mazzarelli, J.P., Friedman, Marlow, McGuire and Malone, JJ. Footnotes

Footnote *: Reznikov was originally also a defendant in this action. In March 2004, Supreme Court granted plaintiffs' motion for a default judgment against Reznikov, and severed the remainder of the action for further proceedings. The order granting the default judgment against Reznikov notes that he was then an inmate of a secure psychiatric facility in Minnesota.


Hillside has total assets (based on 2009 Annual Report) valued at $91,182,943.  Management gets paid 9% annually.  This means management is paid $8,206,464.87 annually?!  And, supposedly 91% goes to pay for services provided.  Source: 
Former Hillside worker accused of sexually assaulting teen pleads not guilty

A former Hillside Children’s Center employee accused of sexually assaulting two teens pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning in Monroe County Court.

Matthew D. King, 29, of Rochester is facing five counts of third-degree criminal sexual act, a felony, and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.

King is accused of having inappropriate sexual contact earlier this year with two teenage boys he met while working as a youth counselor at Hillside’s residential center on Monroe Avenue, said Assistant District Attorney Kyle Rossi. King is also accused of providing alcohol and cigarettes to teens he met while working at the center.

Some of the alleged incidents occurred at the center, Rossi said. Other alleged acts occurred elsewhere in the Rochester region. All of the acts stemmed from relationships that started at Hillside, Rossi said.

King worked for Hillside for about 1 ½ years, ending July 27.

King “has been a coach, counselor and teacher’s aide his whole adult life, so we’re concerned” that authorities may not be aware of all potential victims, Rossi said. Any potential victims are asked to contact New York State Police or the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

County Court Judge Frank Geraci Jr. Wednesday morning issued orders of protection for the two teens.

King’s lawyer Amanda Oren in court said that King’s family posted $50,000 bail. King remained free on that bail and is scheduled to return to court for argument of motions on Nov. 7.


In New York, the criminal statutes of limitation are 1 year on petty offenses, 2 years on misdemeanors, 5 years on most felonies, 10-20 years on second degree rape, and no statute of limitations on first degree rape and murder.  For civil suits in New York, the statute of limitations is 3 years depending on cause of action. 

Options for you to take action and/or seek redress/justice today are listed below:

1.  Report crimes such as assault, fraud, battery, labor trafficking, and child abuse to law enforcement in New York. You can call the Rochester Police at (585) 428-6720 to inquire about filing an official complaint which may provide the probable cause needed to get a warrant for investigation and/or prosecution.

2.  File a consumer complaint with your home state's attorney general against Hillside and include your request for compensation for any harm done to you.  If you live in New York and/or would like to file consumer complaint as a non-resident with the Attorney General of New York, visit .

3.  If you do not wish to file a consumer complaint, you can contact a private personal injury attorney and look into suing in tort/civil court.  However, if you can't afford the retainer, you should expect to settle out of court with a non-disclosure agreement which may bar you from speaking publicly about the incident because you've agreed (even if with a grumbling assent) to the terms of the settlement. 
4.  You may send a new e-mail to with subject "Post My Feedback" and we will post your feedback (e-mail printed to .pdf disclosing your name and e-mail address and any information in your e-mail with that subject) to  and add a direct link to those .pdf files to this page . 

 5. You may also wish to provide a guest sermon.  Guest sermons are posted at , under Progress Reports/Guest Sermons at where appropriate, and on program info pages when applicable.  So, one provided by you on your program would also be placed on this page .  Guest sermons should be written into the body of an e-mail and sent to . Your first and last name will be disclosed (contact info will not be unless you expressly request disclosure).  For sermons available on our site see  (and sermon archives linked on that page).  If you have questions about this option, please contact Please see  to get an idea what your sermon may be worth.

All segregated congregate care providers, including those on our watch-list, are welcome to contact us to correct any information or provide additional data that may assist with delivering the whole truth to the public.  The HEAL Mission of COPE (HEAL) found in many cases where this offer has been abused or resulted in revealing additional basis for our concerns. For some examples see feedback.  Now, we are willing to look at the facts and may have questions or require documentation backing up any claims.  We do verify licensing, academic backgrounds, and other qualifications when investigating and researching programs on our watch-lis/enrolled in the Conversion Program to assist consumers seeking additional information on such programs or victims requiring assistance with getting corroborating evidence of their claims.  We do that in order to make sure the information we provide is accurate and verified and cite our sources.  In the event any information we've posted is in error, we're happy to make a correction. 

HEAL does not support segregated congregate care for many reasons which include that many such facilities are abusive, exploitative, fraudulent, and lack effective oversight often as a result of fraudulent misrepresentation coupled with the ignorance of those seeking to enroll loved ones in such facilities, programs, schools, or centers without a valid court order and involuntarily.  In the United States such involuntary placements done without a court order are apparently illegal as they either violate the Americans with Disabilities Act community integration requirement or due process rights of those involuntarily placed.  Now, in regards to parents, in the United States parents have the right to waive their own rights, but, not the rights of their minor children.  See for more information.  Now, most facilities on our watch list include waivers, indemnity clauses, and sworn statements legal guardians must sign assuring the program that the parents/legal guardians have the right to make the placement involuntarily and without due process in a segregated congregate care environment, however, California and federal prosecutors as well as settled law appears to suggest that is not the case.  In fact, in the David Taylor case found at , Taylor sued Provo Canyon School and his mother as co-defendants.  His mother was found liable for 75% of the damages awarded to Taylor as a result of multiple complaints including false imprisonment, while the program was found only 25% liable because the mother owed a duty of due diligence to investigate anyone to which she would entrust care of her child and she failed to do so. 

Now, HEAL opposes segregated congregate care and we find most placements are happening illegally in the USA which if the youth understood their rights would result in unfortunate outcomes for the parents, particularly when they don't exercise good judgment and support the fraud and abuse rather than their own children when they need remedy and justice.  And, HEAL supports all victims of fraud and abuse in seeking remedies at law for any crimes or torts committed against them.  And, that's true whether or not the program or victims are in the USA. 

HEAL has a 5 point argument against segregated congregate care we'd like you to consider:

a.  Segregated care is unconstitutional and a civil rights violation.  It is only permissible if a person is unable to survive independent of an institutional environment.  For more on this, watch the HEAL Report at  Or, see:  which includes in part:    "United States v. Florida – 1:12-cv-60460 – (S.D. Fla.) – On April 7, 2016, the United States filed an Opposition to the State of Florida’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment.  In the Motion, the State had asked the Court to rule, on a variety of grounds, that the United States could not recover damages for unnecessarily institutionalized children to whom the State had been deliberately indifferent."

b.  Institutionalization is always dehumanizing and coercive.  Institutionalization always harms the institutionalized and deprives them of protected civil rights.  Dr. David Straker, Psychiatry Professor at Columbia University's School of Medicine (Ivy League) explains this in detail at  "Many institutions, from prisons to monasteries to asylums, deliberately want to control and manage their inmates such that they conform and do not cause problems. Even in less harsh environments, many of the institutionalization methods may be found, albeit in more moderated form (although the psychological effect can be equally devastating)."  (See website linked in this paragraph for more info.)

c.  Institutionalization is not in the best interest of children.  Institutions are not ever better for a child than living with a loving family.  Source:       

d.  Reform schools, residential treatment programs, and other segregated congregate care settings have been shown to be ineffective and harmful.  Best source on this currently is:

e. Boarding Schools, even the "good ones", result in a form of social death, isolation, and cause both anxiety and depression.  Therefore, it is clearly not in the best interest of the youth subjected to those environments.  Sources: and

Beyond the above arguments against segregated congregate care, we have reports from the NIH, Surgeon General, Yale University Studies, and much more showing the methodologies of behavior modification are damaging, harmful, and ineffective.  You can request these documents via e-mail.  In addition, for such programs offering academic services or claiming to offer diplomas, certifications, or the like, it is important to check to see if it is a diploma mill with no accredited academic services.  Please see article: "Avoiding Scams: What You Need To Know"  for important information on how to avoid education/training scams.

If you'd like to see what HEAL suggests rather than segregated congregate care (i.e. committing a crime or tort against your child if done against their will without a court order), please see articles: "Fix Your Family, Help Your Teen" and "Emancipation Guide".
9/22/21: COPE Conversion Program Progress Report: Hillside Children's Center


 Last Updated: February 27th, 2023

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