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St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center resident dies after assault at facility

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OGDENSBURG — Ogdensburg police are investigating a patient-on-patient assault that resulted in the death of a man at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center Monday.

Police said in a news release Thursday that the victim, Robert D. Harrienger II, 58, was assaulted around 6 p.m. Monday at the center’s Trinity Building. He died from his injuries Tuesday, according to the state Office of Mental Health.

Police said they have identified a person of interest in the case, and they are determining potential charges with the St. Lawrence County District Attorney’s Office.

Police said the investigation is ongoing and further details are not being released at this time.

Office of Mental Health spokesman Benjamin Rosen said in an email that due to federal and state health information privacy laws, the Office of Mental Health is prohibited from disclosing information which may lead to the identification of any individual’s protected health information.

“Patient safety is the Office of Mental Health’s highest priority. St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center staff followed both law and procedure by immediately reporting the assault to local law enforcement as well as the New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs,” Mr. Rosen said in the email. “An assault resulting in death is an extremely rare occurrence within an Office of Mental Health facility. Under such circumstances, law enforcement and the Justice Center will both investigate the incident and those investigations are ongoing.”

Mr. Harrienger’s obituary said was a general laborer in the garage of the psychiatric center for 20 years until retiring due to disability.

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