State police have ruled that a sex offender’s death inside Central New York Psychiatric Center in Marcy was accidental.
Investigators determined Philip Barbato, 47, accidentally hanged himself with string while alone inside a shower room, Trooper Jack Kelly said.
Barbato had been locked up under the state’s Sex Offender Treatment Program, part of the civil-commitment law that allows for confining sex offenders who completed their criminal sentence, according to Kelly.
Nursing staff tried to resuscitate Barbato and an ambulance responded Monday at 3:05 a.m. He was pronounced dead at 3:10 a.m. and staff didn’t report any violations of policy or safety protocol, Kelly said.
The medical examiner ruled the cause of death as autoerotic asphyxia, which involves intentionally cutting off oxygen flow for sexual gratification, Kelly said.
The state Office of Mental Health, which oversees the psychiatric center, declined to answer questions about the death, citing privacy laws.
“Patient safety is the Office of Mental Health’s highest priority,” said agency spokesman James Plastiras, “OMH continues to work with law enforcement on the investigation into the death at (the psychiatric center).”
The incident Monday marks the third death inside a state psychiatric facility since July, including two at Rockland Psychiatric Center.