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Coeymans man accused of luring kids for 'role playing'

September 20, 2018 01:43 PM

COEYMANS - A state mental health official is facing 29 counts of child endangerment.

60-year-old John Allen was arrested this morning by Coeymans and New York State Police.

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Allen is a Special Assistant to the Commissioner of the New York State Office of Mental Health.

Coeymans officials were not able to give much more detail about Allen's arrest on Wednesday. Earlier this summer Allen sat down with our own Asa Stackel to talk about mental health.

Though it's unclear if it's related to these charges, Allen said he's sought out mental health services in the past.

"We now know that people even with serious mental illness can work, can be productive members of their community and actually can fully recover from a number of instances,” Allen said.

The July interview largely focused on seeking mental health services. Allen, shared his professional and personal experiences.

"Mental health issues were a part of my family experience that's why I was hired into this position,” Allen said. “Because I had personal experience of being involved in the system as a family member and a person who has accessed services."

Though very few details have been released, the Albany Times Union is reporting Allen allegedly lured teenagers into his home and asked them to wear diapers.

It’s unclear how many victims there were or how long Allen has allegedly been doing this.

At a popular park in Coeymans, local Bill Drinkwater called Allen's arrest upsetting.

"You hear it every day on the news in Albany, Schenectady, Troy the Tri-City area but not a local small town like this where most everybody knows everybody else,” Drinkwater said. “It's a shame and the kids are the ones that suffer for it."

In that same July interview, Allen said those who need help often avoid getting it.

"It is often very difficult to access services people are afraid they are intimidated and often they fear the stigmatization,” Allen said. “If I'm a high profile person I don't want to appear weak vulnerable. One of the greatest gifts we can give not only ourselves but others is to recognize that we need help and reach out for it."

The New York State Office of Mental Health released this statement Wednesday:

"Upon learning of these shocking allegations, OMH immediately moved to terminate Mr. Allen. Protecting all people in the state of New York is our primary mission and OMH is prepared to assist law enforcement in any way possible as they continue their investigation."

Allen was sent to the Albany County Jail.

You can read the court documents from his case here.

WEB EXTRA: John Allen on Forum 13

Allen appeared on an episode of Forum 13 in July to discuss mental health.

Credits

Emily Burkhard

Copyright 2018 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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