Friday, October 14, 2016

Jonathan Carey's Story:The Killing of an Innocent Boy with Autism

I have been reading these articles with amazement and shock. I thought we treated the most vulnerable among us with kindness and appropriate treatment. It's not true. We hand them over to folks without brains to do what they want and they are abused and die. These folks do not have the ability to tell us of their troubles. These stories happened to developmentally handicapped folks and it's a series of articles that I found deeply troubling.  Families need to have ways to monitor their family members and simply ensure the safety of their own in ways that can be presented to court when abuse / death occurs. These cases should go to court and the folks involved need jail time. 


ABOUT

Welcome to the Jonathan Carey Foundation.
Lisa and I, the parents of Jonathan, would first like to thank everyone for your love, your prayers, and your encouragement throughout this extremely difficult time, and for all your support as we were fighting for Jonathan’s Law.  Our hearts are broken and the pain of missing Jonathan is excruciating at times, but we know that Jonathan is happy and safe with our Lord Jesus in Heaven for all eternity, which helps us tremendously.
Right now we must move forward.  We are compelled to help other vulnerable children, and to help prevent other children from suffering abuse and neglect like Jonathan suffered.  We would like you know a little about our son Jonathan.  Jonathan was diagnosed mentally retarded before he was two years old and then diagnosed autistic at six years old.  Jonathan’s life was difficult in many ways because of the afflictions he suffered, as well as not being able to speak and communicate properly.  You can only imagine the frustration, if it were you.  Lisa and I placed Jonathan in the Anderson School in Staatsburg , New York , in January of 2003, so he could learn and prosper more as well as be toilet trained.  We were told that the school had 100% success with toilet training, and highly structured teaching in their school, and that the carry over in the residential settings was excellent.  Jonathan was making some significant gains, but in the Fall of 2004, things took a horrible turn for the worse.  We received a call from the Director of the school saying that our son was in a crisis.  Afterward, we found out that the school was withholding meals on a daily basis from Jonathan for behavior modification, or “intense programming” in their own words, whenever Jonathan did not have his shirt or clothing on.  Jonathan was struggling with a compulsive problem of keeping his shirt on, and this is how the school planned to program our son, without our knowledge or consent, or the knowledge or consent of a Human Rights Committee.  This unbelievable abusive and neglectful plan was then carried out by numerous staff for over five weeks.  Jonathan was also secluded for extended periods of time in his bedroom, at times naked lying in his own urine, missing many days of school, without our knowledge.  During this time, Jonathan sustained dozens of bruises over much of his body, which was not reported properly by the school to both New York State agencies, OMRDD or CQC, as required for investigation.  How can such things happen?  How can people do such inhumane things? It is still hard for Lisa and I to understand how people can do such things.  After a four week investigation was completed by OMRDD regarding these abuses of our son Jonathan, all of the records were then immediately sealed by the State of New York and none of the individuals involved were held accountable by law.  The State of New York continued to withhold all of these records from us until the amendment to Jonathan’s Law was signed by Governor Spitzer on July 18, 2007.  Now under Jonathan’s Law, parents and legal guardians are able to obtain valuable investigative records and incident reports regarding their children to help insure their safety.  Under the amendment to Jonathan’s Law, parents and legal guardians can obtain investigative records and incident reports dated from January of 2003 until the current date, by requesting their records in writing, by no later than December 31, 2007.
After removing Jonathan from the Anderson School , Jonathan struggled incredibly as a result of the abuse he went through.  Jonathan was then diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result.  After doing our best to care for Jonathan at home, without getting much assistance from OMRDD, despite pleading for help, we had to place Jonathan in another facility.  We could not care for Jonathan alone.  At this time Jonathan went into OD Heck, in Niskayuna , New York , which is a State run residential facility.  A year and a half later, on February 16, 2007, while away on a trip, Lisa and I got the most horrible news any parent could ever get.  “Last night Jonathan stopped breathing and he could not be revived”.  Lisa and I both buckled to the sidewalk under the grief of the news coming over the payphone.  We were in St. Thomas trying to get some respite from life’s difficulties, to get the worst news imaginable.  We later received, a call saying that two men have been arrested and charged for improperly restraining Jonathan to death.  Lisa and I were a couple of thousand miles away, and our precious first born son Jonathan was killed, we are told.  If it were not for our faith in Jesus, there is no way we could have survived it all.  By His amazing grace, as well as the amazing outpouring of love through so many people, we are doing OK.  Hurting, yes, but we know there are many things we must do.  We are compelled to help prevent this from happening to other children or their families.  This is why Lisa and I have established the Jonathan Carey Foundation in Jonathan’s name, to do everything possible to stop such injustices, and help vulnerable children.
Most vulnerable children cannot speak or defend themselves and desperately need our help, meaning each and every one of us, in whatever way we can.  Lisa and I have gained much insight through all that we have gone through, and have a responsibility to use that insight and knowledge to help bring about necessary changes and fight for what is right.  Our hope and our prayer is that these changes will affect the lives of thousands of precious children and their families.  We must continue to raise awareness of the issues facing those living in residential care facilities and schools, and their families.
We are also compelled to raise awareness and to encourage people to get involved in rescuing orphaned and abandoned children.  We have been involved with a ministry called Hearts of the Father Outreach for many years now.  I have seen first hand several young children, without parents, poor and destitute, sleeping on sidewalks in plastic corn meal sacks in need of a home, love, and their basic needs met, such as regular meals, clothing, and medical attention.  These children can be rescued and literally saved for very little cost, if people first care, and second have an avenue to help.  Our desire is to help point the way to other existing organizations and ministries that are doing such wonderful work.  The Jonathan Carey Foundation is all about helping vulnerable children in any way possible, but it is going to take a team effort.  There are millions of vulnerable children, in all sorts of dire need.  Will you help?  If everyone helps in whatever way they can, a tremendous number of precious children’s lives will be turned around, and I believe forever.
We are closing our family business named Solo Auto Sales, located at 90 Delaware Avenue in Delmar , New York , and are converting the use of the property into the office for The Jonathan Carey Foundation.  We are now currently able to accept charitable contributions, which are tax deductible. We are going to need your help, as well as the help of our entire community, to accomplish and bring about the necessary changes needed to insure the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable children.  Thank you for caring, and thank you for considering supporting The Jonathan Carey Foundation.  If you would like to help financially, please click on the donate tab for the information necessary.  Thank you.
Michael Carey
The Jonathan Carey Foundation
90 Delaware Ave.
Delmar, NY 12054
To donate to the Jonathan Carey Foundation and to help vulnerable children.

The Jonathan Carey Foundation is a federal tax exempt 501(c)(3) public charity. All donations are tax deductible.
The Jonathan Carey Foundation, 90 Delaware Ave.
Delmar, NY 12054
Learn more about Jonathan’s Law and about the Jonathan Carey Foundation

Restraint Deaths and Cover-ups of Abuse of the Disabled

Jonathan Carey "Champion for the Disabled" Born September 12,1993 Killed by caregivers on February 15,2007

Jonathan Carey was developmentally disabled and had autism and only 13 when he was killed by his caregivers, Jonathan was illegally restrained

The shocking statements regarding the use of restraints by Jay Kiyonaga who is the acting Executive Director of the fraudulent New York State Justice Center are quite disturbing.

— Michael Carey

DELMAR, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, October 14, 2016 /EINPresswire.com/ -- Jonathan’s crime or offense was that he unbuckled his seat belt in a parked van. The New York State employed caregiver who was Jonathan’s one to one aide and who was to be in arms length of Jonathan to assist him and protect him left him for over twenty minutes to do a personal banking errand. The other NYS caregiver in the van, who had worked 197.5 hours within the two weeks, immediately put Jonathan into an illegal physical restraint restricting his breathing. Jonathan is my son and Jonathan should never have been restrained in any way. Jonathan was the most loving person that I have ever met and you should get to know him and some of the horrific things he endured. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/06/nyregion/boys-death-highlights-crisis-in-homes-for-disabled.html - http://www.nytimes.com/video/nyregion/100000000849083/a-failure-to-protect.html

When the caregiver that physically killed Jonathan realized that Jonathan was in severe distress and his eyes were fluttering, he then released Jonathan briefly before sitting on his head and chest until he killed Jonathan. There was no 911 call; no attempt to revive Jonathan, Jonathan was suffocated to death. I must bring this to the forefront because extremely large number of children and adults with disabilities are being restrained for no reason and many are dying all across our country https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gf4JxtSRygY. In many cases restraints are not only abusive they would be considered a felony criminal offense. The problems are when facilities, schools and group homes have little to no oversight and when many of their staff think they can do whatever they want with a disabled person very serious problems can arise. What should be happening is that our most vulnerable disabled are provided the very best and safest for care and services. Almost always even big issues such as emotional melt downs can be handled in a much better and safer way than one or more caregivers or teachers physically laying their hands on the person with a disability or sitting on top of them. Only imagine if this was you, it almost always will escalate the problems and make the situation far worse. I remember a young man that was disabled who was also clearly emotionally damaged at the facility where Jonathan lived at the time called OD Heck Developmental Center. All this young man needed was to be treated well, spoken to calmly and respectfully and loved. I remember seeing tremendous changes with him while on visits to see Jonathan. I simply would acknowledge him and treat him special, giving him a piece of candy and a hug. In a manner of a short time he would run over to me looking forward to my hug when I arrived.

Tragically, the New York State agency supposedly in place to protect the disabled from abuse according to their vision is doing the exact opposite. The former Commission on Quality of Care now called the Justice Center has a history of covering up abuse, neglect, crimes and deaths. This entity was exposed and renamed and relocated to give an appearance of reform following an award winning NY Times “Abused & Used” investigative reporting serieshttp://www.nytimes.com/interactive/nyregion/abused-and-used-series-page.html?_r=0 . This investigative reporting series which was a runner up for a Pulitzer Prize revealed that New York States mental health care system is a disaster, extremely dangerous and deadly and to date it remains sohttp://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/10/opinion/protecting-the-most-vulnerable.html. Now under the new name and guise of a Justice Center thousands of crimes which include criminally negligent deaths are being covered-up regularly. Restraint deaths are just one of the many reasons so many young people with disabilities are dying in New York State run and privately operated facilities and group homes. I must bring your attention to a recent Albany Times Union article where the head of the State agency that is fielding over a staggering 7,000 calls to their abuse hotline every month in New York State and is part of covering up most reported cases is actually defending the regular use of restraints http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Probe-worry-curbs-actions-9957414.php . Please read this story and my commentary that just came out publicly http://www.timesunion.com/tuplus-opinion/article/Ban-use-of-restraints-on-the-disabled-9969841.php . The shocking statements regarding the use of restraints by Jay Kiyonaga who is the acting Executive Director of the fraudulent New York State Justice Center are quite disturbing.

Emergency actions must finally be taken to ensure much safer care and services for our disabled throughout our nation, which must include major restrictions on the use of restraints. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has recognized the use of restraints as a major problem nationwide, even using Jonathan’s story in a Congressional hearing http://autismschoolabuse.com/ . Restraints must rarely be used and only in emergency situations and they cannot restrict breathing. Restraints cannot continue to be used as standard operating procedure. The statement made by Jay Kiyonaga, likening restraining vulnerable and disabled people to a doctor treating a patient as if restraints of these people should be standard operating procedure is reprehensible and unconscionable.


People with disabilities need and deserve safe care and services, period. If God forbid they need emergency assistance as my son Jonathan did obviously 911 must be required by law to be immediately called. Governor Cuomo’s fraudulent Justice Center and agency head in almost every imaginable way are handling the disabled and after the fact when they are abused or neglected and victims of crimes, in medical distress or even stopped breathing wrong. They actually think the emergency 911 call systems do not need to be immediately and directly called by the mandated reporters. Governor Cuomo’s fraudulent Justice Center and agency head are handling literally almost everything the exact opposite than the way it should be including the use of deadly restraints. It is the disabled that must be served properly, provided excellent and safe care and be protected, these are some of our most vulnerable amongst us in simple need of daily assistance with their care.


Stand with us for “equal rights” and “civil rights” for people with disabilities in New York State and throughout our great country by signing our petition at www.jonathancareyfoundation.org. No longer can 911 be bypassed, 911 call systems must be immediately called by all mandated reporters regarding all physical and sexual assaults, gross negligence of care, significant and suspicious injuries and when a person with a disability is in medical distress or has stopped breathing. http://jonathancareyfoundation.org/donate/


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http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/06/nyregion/boys-death-highlights-crisis-in-homes-for-disabled.html?action=click&contentCollection=N.Y.%20%2F%20Region&module=RelatedCoverage&region=EndOfArticle&pgtype=article

N.Y. / REGION | ABUSED AND USED

A Disabled Boy’s Death, and a System in Disarray

By DANNY HAKIMJUNE 5, 2011
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Jonathan Carey did not die for lack of money.
New York State and the federal government provided $1.4 million annually per person to care for Jonathan and the other residents of the Oswald D. Heck Developmental Center, a warren of low-rise concrete and brick buildings near Albany.
Yet on a February afternoon in 2007, Jonathan, a skinny, autistic 13-year-old, was asphyxiated, slowly crushed to death in the back seat of a van by a state employee who had worked nearly 200 hours without a day off over 15 days. The employee, a ninth-grade dropout with a criminal conviction for selling marijuana, had been on duty during at least one previous episode of alleged abuse involving Jonathan.
“I could be a good king or a bad king,” he told the dying boy beneath him, according to court documents.
In the front seat of the van, the driver, another state worker at O. D. Heck, watched through the rear-view mirror but said little. He had been fired from four different private providers of services to the developmentally disabled before the state hired him to care for the same vulnerable population.

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O. D. Heck is one of nine large institutions in New York that house the developmentally disabled, those with cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome and other conditions.
These institutions spend two and a half times as much money, per resident, as the thousands of smaller group homes that care for far more of the 135,000 developmentally disabled New Yorkers receiving services.
But the institutions are hardly a model: Those who run them have tolerated physical and psychological abuse, knowingly hired unqualified workers, ignored complaints by whistle-blowers and failed to credibly investigate cases of abuse and neglect, according to a review by The New York Times of thousands of state records and court documents, along with interviews of current and former employees.
Since 2005, seven of the institutions have failed inspections by the State Health Department, which oversees the safety and living conditions of the residents. One was shut down altogether this year.
While Jonathan Carey was at O. D. Heck, Health Department inspectors accused its management of routinely failing to investigate fractures and lacerations suffered by residents.
Similar problems can be found across the state. The Broome Developmental Center in Binghamton has been cited for repeatedly failing to protect residents from staff members. One employee there was merely reassignedafter encouraging adolescent residents to fight one another.
Patterns of abuse appear embedded in the culture of the Sunmount Developmental Center in the Adirondacks. Last year, one supervisor was accused of four different episodes of physical and psychological abuse of residents within a span of two and a half months; another employee bragged on Facebook about “beating retards.”
The most damning accounts about the operations come from employees — thwarted whistle-blowers from around the state — and the beleaguered family members of residents.
Dozens of people with direct experience in the system echoed a central complaint about the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities: that the agency fails to take complaints seriously or curtail abuse of its residents.
“I’ve never seen any outfit run the way this place is,” said Jim Lynch, a direct-care worker in Brooklyn. “You report stuff, and then you get retaliated against. They want everything kept quiet. People that are outspoken attract the heat. I don’t know who to talk to when I see a problem. Nothing ever gets done.”
Paul Borer, a dietitian who works for the agency in the Hudson Valley, said he saw another employee punch a resident twice in the face in 2008, but little ever came of the many complaints he made about the episode, to his supervisors, to the commissioner of the agency at the time, Diana Jones Ritter, and to the office of Gov. David A. Paterson.
“You can see a person get hit, then you can go through three years of writing back and forth and nothing happens, so why even report it?” Mr. Borer said.
Mary Maioriello, who worked at O. D. Heck, reported seeing several cases of abuse, including the repeated beating of a resident with a stick that staff members called “the magic wand.”
Upset that her concerns were not sent to law enforcement, she confronted two of the agency’s top officials and secretly recorded the encounter, in which they sought to play down what she saw. After state officials learned of the existence of the tape, which Ms. Maioriello gave to The Times, the two officials were reassigned.
“The people at this place, the only way I can describe it is as a cult,” Ms. Maioriello said of O. D. Heck. “It should be shut down.”
Earlier this year, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo forced the resignation of the commissioner of the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities after learning of the Times investigation, and said his administration would undertake a broad review of the state’s care of the developmentally disabled.
Indications are, however, that the agency is still struggling. Its new commissioner, Courtney Burke, is a well-regarded policy analyst but lacks management experience. She has taken over an agency with 23,000 employees; previously, she managed no more than seven. Mr. Cuomo has asked two veteran commissioners to review the agency’s practices, and Ms. Burke has taken some decisive steps, firing two top officials, and trying to establish more independent investigations.
Still, the pattern of secrecy at the agency has been hard to break; even after Ms. Burke’s ascension, it has battled in court to prevent the disclosure of patient records to Albany Law School, even though the school has a contract to monitor care of the disabled.
The institutions have survived a 40-year deinstitutionalization effort in part because officials have argued that they need a place to house the most frail or physically unruly residents. But there is also big money at stake. New York has been adept at securing large amounts of cash from Washington, earmarked for the institutions.
The federal and state governments now allocate more than $1.8 million annually for each of the roughly 1,300 residents remaining in the nine institutions, a number that has steadily risen from $1.4 million in 2007, when Jonathan Carey died.
That adds up to more than $2.5 billion a year, with about 60 percent coming from Washington.
But the money does not actually all go to the care of the residents in the institutions.
Photo
Michael Carey at the grave of his son, Jonathan, who was asphyxiated when a state employee sat on him while trying to subdue him in a van. CreditNathaniel Brooks for The New York Times
The state agency recently conceded that only about $600 million is being spent on the residents’ care — a still-generous allocation of nearly $430,000 per person — while the rest is redirected throughout the agency for use at group homes and care in other areas. The state’s redistribution of the Medicaid money earmarked for the institutions is currently the subject of a federal audit. The Cuomo administration has said it is moving to further de-emphasize institutional care and will close some of the nine facilities.
Jonathan’s Story
Jonathan Carey arrived at O. D. Heck on Oct. 7, 2005.
Two months later, unbeknown to Jonathan’s parents, Michael and Lisa Carey, the federal government barred the facility from accepting new residents financed by Medicaid for a year because of its chronic problems.
One inspection by the State Health Department found at least 18 serious injuries of residents in a five-month period, in a facility holding only 57 people. Eight of the injuries, including five fractures, were of unknown origin.
The Health Department concluded that investigating the high number of injuries was not a priority for O. D. Heck’s management.
“There was no evidence that the facility examined the nature of all reportable injuries systemically in an effort to prevent such injuries in the future,” inspectors wrote. O. D. Heck managers were supposed to complete initial investigations within five days of a serious injury, but often left the inquiries open for weeks or months, the department found.
Some workers were hardly fit for duty. One had a history of showing up intoxicated, according to depositions in a civil case brought by the Carey family against the state, but he was kept on the job until he was once so drunk at work that he was sent to a hospital. He was later made a groundskeeper.
Direct-care workers were often high school dropouts, some with criminal convictions. One lower-level supervisor had a petty larceny conviction. Edwin Tirado, the employee eventually convicted of manslaughter in Jonathan’s death, had been convicted of selling marijuana and, as a youthful offender, for firing a shotgun in his attic.
Nadeem Mall, a trainee at O. D. Heck who pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide in Jonathan’s death, was fired from four different private providers of services to the developmentally disabled, lasting less than a year at each of them, before he was hired by the state.
One employer had accused Mr. Mall of sleeping and watching television on the job. Another found him sleeping while a resident’s thumb was bleeding profusely. He was let go from a third job after being accused of calling 1-900 sex lines using a company cellphone, and from a fourth job after he inexplicably had a hairdresser cut off all the hair of a disabled woman in his care. Mr. Mall’s lawyer declined to comment.
With that background, he was hired by the state, listing his sister and his wife as references on his application. A state official recently said in a deposition that the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities knew Mr. Mall had lied on his application form, claiming his driver’s license had never been suspended when it actually had been shortly before his hiring.
“O. D. Heck failed at every single possible level,” said Ilann Maazel, Mr. Carey’s lawyer. “It was a disaster waiting to happen.”
There was little tangible oversight of employees and no restraint on overtime, which employees coveted to supplement the low salaries, which started at less than $30,000 a year. Mr. Tirado was once allowed to work 84 straight days, and the former head of O. D. Heck acknowledged in a deposition that too much overtime had contributed to Jonathan’s death.
All of this was hidden from the families of O. D. Heck’s residents.
“If we had any clue that O. D. Heck was in this shape, do you think that we would have ever put Jonathan in there?” Jonathan’s father said.
Mr. Carey is a tall man with piercing blue eyes, who ran a used-car dealership before his son’s death. During a recent interview, Mr. Carey was surrounded by pictures of a grinning Jonathan, a contrast to his father’s crushing sadness.
Before Jonathan died, Michael, an evangelical Christian, would make regular missionary trips to Africa. He has largely given up his dealership, and now devotes his life mostly to advocacy for the developmentally disabled.
For the Careys, the journey to O. D. Heck was a last resort. Jonathan was born in 1993, the older of their two sons. When he was 19 months old, the Careys were told that he was mentally retarded, and when he was older that he was autistic — functionally a 2-year-old, his vocabulary limited to “daddy” and the phrase “Where you goin’?”
The Careys, who live near Albany, raised Jonathan until he was 9, but became worried that they could not teach their son basic living skills, like toilet training. They enrolled him at the Anderson Center for Autism, a privately run school in the Hudson Valley overseen by the state.
At first, the school seemed a good fit, until Jonathan, who was always thin, began losing weight. During one visit, an employee told the Careys to take home a duffel bag they had never used. They discovered a logbook inside the bag detailing startling changes to Jonathan’s treatment plan. Among other things, the school was withholding food from Jonathan to punish him for taking off his shirt at inappropriate times.
“They literally planned to withhold my son’s meals,” Mr. Carey said. “And when that was not working, then they began to seclude him in his bedroom for an extended period of time. He missed eight full days of school.”
Soon afterward, the Careys removed their son from Anderson, and cared for him at home for the next year. But now there were tantrums for no apparent reason. A doctor later told the Careys their son was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
He became harder to contain. He was tall enough to jump their fence, had no sense of keeping himself safe and became increasingly hard to handle. About a year after he came home, Jonathan had what his father called “a full emotional meltdown,” and the Careys took him to a local hospital, where he was essentially knocked out with a drug cocktail and tied to his hospital bed.
Death in a Van
Running out of options, the Careys were directed to O. D. Heck, and they hoped that an institution run by the state would be more promising than the Anderson school.
But on Oct. 29, 2005, just a couple of weeks after Jonathan was enrolled, the Careys arrived to find their son’s nose so swollen that they took him to the hospital. None of the staff members claimed to know what had happened, and they speculated that it had occurred during a dental procedure. Another time, Jonathan was taken to the hospital with a black eye and a broken nose. That time, the staff suggested that Jonathan might have fallen out of bed.
On a third occasion, Jonathan was taken to the hospital with severe bruising on both sides of his face.
“They basically told us that Jonathan had fallen out of a rocking chair and hit his head on a table, and I said, ‘Absolutely not,’ ” Lisa Carey said.
In a recent deposition, a lower-level supervisor at O. D. Heck, Tedra Hamilton, recalled the third episode, saying Jonathan “had bruises everywhere.”
CITY ROOM By Erik Olsen 10:32A Failure to Protect
Video

A Failure to Protect

A story of abuse and neglect in New York state's system of care for the developmentally disabled.
By Erik Olsen on Publish DateJune 5, 2011. Photo by Michael Carey|Nathaniel H. Brooks. Watch in Times Video »
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“It looked bad to me,” she added. “It scared me.”
Edwin Tirado had been one of two employees on duty right before the bruises were discovered; Mr. Tirado invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and declined to speak during a recent deposition when asked about prior abuse cases involving Jonathan.
The situation came to a head on Feb. 15, 2007. Mr. Tirado and Mr. Mall took Jonathan and another resident on an outing. Mr. Tirado had worked 197 hours over a 15-day period and was so exhausted that he let Mr. Mall drive, fearing he would fall asleep.
Mr. Mall first drove to his bank, leaving Mr. Tirado in the van with Jonathan and the other resident. While they were waiting, Jonathan got up from his seat. Mr. Tirado went to the back of the van and began to restrain Jonathan, trying to subdue him. Mr. Mall and the other resident, identified in court documents by his initials, E. C., later said that Mr. Tirado sat on Jonathan, who was face down, his legs flailing.
When Mr. Mall returned to the van several minutes later, Mr. Tirado declined an offer for help.
Mr. Tirado restrained Jonathan for about 15 minutes, continuing as the group drove to a gas station. Mr. Mall said he heard Mr. Tirado tell the boy, “I could be a good king or a bad king.” Mr. Tirado denied making the remark, but another employee had heard him make a similar comment before, according to court documents.
E. C., watching with apparent concern from the front of the van, told Mr. Tirado, “Get off of him,” and “Let him breathe,” according to Mr. Mall.
When they got to the gas station, Mr. Mall went inside to buy some drinks, including a Snapple iced tea for Mr. Tirado. Mr. Mall has testified that when he returned to the van, Mr. Tirado told him that Jonathan had stopped breathing and the two panicked.
Mr. Tirado has changed his story over time. In a re-enactment videotaped by the police soon after the death, he said that at the gas station, he realized Jonathan had stopped breathing.
“I just froze,” he said, adding that he was afraid of “losing my job and going to jail.” Mr. Tirado has since recanted, saying he had believed that Jonathan had gone to sleep.
Regardless, the two men drove around for more than an hour with a suddenly silent boy in the back without checking on him or calling 911. They went to a video game store, where Mr. Tirado bought a special bag for his PlayStation, then to Mr. Tirado’s house, where they smoked and chatted with a neighbor, and eventually back to O. D. Heck.
An autopsy found the cause of death to be compressive asphyxia — basically, so much pressure was put on Jonathan’s chest that he could not get enough oxygen into his lungs.
Mr. Carey and his wife were together when they got the call.
“I just lost it,” Mr. Carey said. “My wife was yelling and screaming ‘What happened? What happened?’ I just couldn’t even, I don’t even think I could communicate well. And she finally said, ‘Which one?’ She realized something had happened to one of the boys. And I said ‘Jonathan.’ And we literally both fell under the weight of the grief, collapsed to the sidewalk, just uncontrollably weeping. It’s hard to explain the pain and the trauma that one experiences getting that kind of news. You’re in a cloud. It’s like you don’t even know what’s going on around you.”
‘Here’s to Beating Retards’
Employment standards are low at the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities. Not only were people with criminal convictions hired, but since 2006, some 125 workers who were fired from jobs there were rehired — a practice that agency officials said they would move to halt after The Times questioned them about it.
A recent case at the Monroe Developmental Center in Rochester, which failed a December inspection by the Health Department, highlighted the lax practices. Inspectors found that an allegation of physical abuse was substantiated against an employee who yelled at a resident, lunged toward him and “pushed him into the wall.”
Inspectors discovered that the same employee had previously been fired in 2007, after being involved in a case of misconduct and for threatening a supervisor. The employee also had been convicted of criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, not related to her job. In her personnel file, there were “do not rehire” recommendations from “numerous supervisors and administrators at the facility when she was terminated in 2007,” inspectors found. And yet she was hired again.
Ms. Burke, the agency’s commissioner, said in a statement that despite the past practice, she “will do everything in my power to not allow the rehiring of employees who have been previously terminated.”
The Sunmount Developmental Center in the Adirondacks, a repository for residents deemed more challenging, also failed an inspection last year. The supervisor accused of four episodes of abuse of residents continued to have contact with them even as the investigations took place, inspectors found.
Inspectors also found that a resident had claimed that a caretaker hadcalled him a “retard” and threatened to have another resident “beat him up.” When the resident was indeed assaulted by the second resident, inspectors found that Sunmount officials did not investigate whether the employee had instigated the fight. In another episode, an employee dumped ketchup, salt and pepper on the head of a resident during dinner. The agency’s response was to transfer the employee to another unit.
Around the same time, one Sunmount resident, Eddie Adkins, was set upon by several staff members after he grew upset that he was not allowed to go to the bathroom, according to an internal report provided to The Times by Mr. Adkins’s family, who were able to get the report because of a disclosure law passed in the wake of Jonathan Carey’s death.
A deaf resident told state investigators that he saw four state employees punching Mr. Adkins while he was sitting on a couch — “I did not like that,” he told investigators, adding that he was so disturbed that he turned his hearing aid off during the melee.
Mr. Adkins’s case underscores the difficulty of this work: While many residents are defenseless — children like Jonathan Carey, or those with cerebral palsy or other debilitating diseases — Mr. Adkins stands 6 feet 5, and his weight has topped 300 pounds. He is autistic and bipolar, and has a history of biting himself and his caregivers and has been jailed for doing so.
But his caretakers can also be violent. The internal report found that Mr. Adkins’s “left eye was swollen and there was bruising under the left eye.”
“There was a large vertical abrasion to Mr. Adkins’s outer left eye,” the report continued, “and a small abrasion on the left side, inner corner of Mr. Adkins’s nose near his eye. There was a small linear abrasion on the outer corner of Mr. Adkins’s right eye.”
An agency spokeswoman said she could not comment on specific cases, citing confidentiality rights of residents.
After the attack, five staff members were placed on administrative leave. One of them wrote in a Facebook posting: “im on administration vacation as well,” adding, “cheers brother here’s to beating retards.”
Trouble Endures
State officials have said they took a number of steps to clean up O. D. Heck after Jonathan’s death.
Those included increasing the number of clinical staff members and direct-care workers and putting more emphasis on teaching residents skills that will help them move to small group homes, the agency said.
NEW YORK By Nancy Donaldson|Nathaniel Brooks|Danny Hakim 5:35Witness to Abuse
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Witness to Abuse

Frustrated by the state's failure to respond to her reports that residents were being abused, a worker at O.D. Heck, surreptitiously recorded a conversation with top agency officials.
By Nancy Donaldson|Nathaniel Brooks|Danny Hakim on Publish DateJune 5, 2011. .Watch in Times Video »
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But Mary Maioriello, an employee at O. D. Heck until she resigned this year, said a culture of abuse continued. Ms. Maioriello was hired as a trainee last year, and witnessed several disturbing episodes. In one case, two employees played a game they called “Fetch,” throwing French fries on the floor and laughing as one resident dived to get them, while another jumped out of his recliner and a third ate them off the floor.
Ms. Maioriello was a 24-year-old trainee at the time. She was horrified, but also intimidated.
“When I first started working there, I was told, ‘Keep your eyes open and your mouth shut and you’ll do just fine here,’ ” she recalled in an interview. “It was kind of like a code that you just didn’t turn anything in. A word that they used a lot was a ‘snitch.’ That’s what it felt like to me, like I was in some kind of gang or cult.”
Ms. Maioriello told her mother what she had seen; her mother told a friend who knew someone at the agency. When Ms. Maioriello was brought in for questioning, she went further, telling her supervisors about several other episodes she had witnessed.
The most serious involved a blue wooden stick stashed in a cabinet drawer in a common room. One supervisor, Ms. Maioriello wrote, called the stick the “magic wand,” and it was used to repeatedly beat a resident whom Ms. Maioriello described as nonverbal and weighing less than 90 pounds.
Ms. Maioriello told management that she had seen three employees, including the supervisor, hitting a resident with the stick at different times. The same resident was confined by employees to a gym mat, and if he stepped off it, he was hit with the stick, snapped with a towel or had his hands stepped on. Employees also appeared to enjoy taunting residents; two workers told one resident they were going to knock over his ceramic frog collection — they called the game “Kick the Frog.”
For Ms. Maioriello, it was a painful experience. She said she had chosen to work with the disabled because her 3-year-old son has developmental problems. She aspires to being a nurse and has been a vigorous advocate for her son. But at O. D. Heck, she felt stuck between her need for a job and her determination to speak up about the behavior.
“I just thought, oh my God, what is wrong with these people?” Ms. Maioriello said of the other employees, adding: “I spoke to my mother, I spoke to some friends, I was telling them, you know, these terrible things. Should I quit? I’m a single mother, I need a paycheck. I don’t know what to do. I’m scared of retaliation. And then once I finally turned it in, I feel like it fell on deaf ears.”
A second state employee who worked at O. D. Heck corroborated much of Ms. Maioriello’s account, but asked not to be identified for fear of being fired.
“There’s abuse going on all the time,” the employee said. “They don’t report anything. They hide everything and cover for each other.”
This employee also saw the resident who was restricted to a gym mat. “I saw them shove socks in his mouth, they shake keys in front of him, they treated him like an animal,” the employee said.
Little resulted from Ms. Maioriello’s reports to management. Her co-workers at first blamed someone else for reporting them to management, and the word “snitch” was spray-painted on the worker’s car. Ms. Maioriello went on leave and resigned in March, threatening to go to the news media before she left.
The Official Response
It was then that Kate Bishop, who supervises O. D. Heck and group homes in a nine-county region stretching from Albany into the Adirondacks, met with Ms. Maioriello.
In an emotional hourlong encounter that she secretly recorded, Ms. Maioriello challenged Ms. Bishop and Andrew Morgese, the agency’s head of internal affairs, who was also present, reminding them that she had reported that a resident was being regularly beaten with a stick. She asked why the matter had not been reported to law enforcement. “Were the police notified?” Ms. Maioriello asked, according to the tape, which was provided to The Times. “Because it was an assault. That is the law, that the police are to be notified when an individual is assaulted. Were they notified?”
“Well,” Ms. Bishop said, “in the original report that you made, it didn’t appear to rise to the level of ...”
“Hitting someone with a stick?” Ms. Maioriello asked.
“In the initial manner described ...” Ms. Bishop responded.
“Really?” Ms. Maioriello said. “So what’s the severity that you have to make an assault?”
Later in the conversation, Ms. Maioriello again asked Ms. Bishop, “Is it an assault to hit him with a stick?”
Ms. Bishop replied, “Not seeing it, I couldn’t answer that question.”
She put the same question to Mr. Morgese.
“Shift after shift after shift, he was hit with this stick by several employees,” she said. “Is that an assault?”
Mr. Morgese replied, “I don’t think I can answer that question.”
At one point during the exchange, Mr. Morgese suggested that it was the responsibility of Ms. Maioriello, a trainee, to report the cases to law enforcement, even though management had been made aware of them.
“I’m not trying to turn this around,” he said, “but if you’re indicating that you believe you witnessed the assault of an individual who was being repeatedly hit with a stick, any one of our employees has not only an opportunity to report, they have a duty to report, they have a duty to intervene on behalf of that individual. If they can’t intervene safely on behalf of that individual, if he’s being assaulted, they have a duty to notify law enforcement.”
Shortly after the meeting, Ms. Maioriello reported the matter to the Niskayuna Police Department. While an officer who met with her said he was not sure how to respond to such episodes inside a state facility, she has since been contacted by the department seeking more information.
The Times asked the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities why Ms. Bishop and Mr. Morgese could not say what an assault was and why Ms. Maioriello’s supervisors had not forwarded her allegations to law enforcement.
The state disputed the framing of the question.
“Your characterization of these exchanges is not consistent with our understanding of the facts regarding those conversations,” an agency spokeswoman said, adding, “Without question, it is the agency policy that if a staff person hit an individual with a stick, law enforcement should be notified.”
The state was subsequently informed by The Times that a tape existed of the encounter, and shortly thereafter both Ms. Bishop and Mr. Morgese were removed from their positions. Ms. Bishop was reassigned to the central office, and Mr. Morgese was demoted and sent to a regional office.
Mr. Morgese, through the agency, declined to comment. In a brief statement, Ms. Bishop said she was inspired to get into the field by a developmentally disabled sister.
“I believe that I provided the highest-quality leadership,” she said, “always guided by respect and dignity for the people we are honored to serve.”
A version of this article appears in print on June 6, 2011, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: A Disabled Boy’s Death, and a Troubled System. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe

7 years after son’s death, local father continues fighting for those with disabilities

By EditorsPublished: February 16, 2014, 12:56 am

(Image 1)

DELMAR, N.Y. — Michael Carey does not take a day off from advocating for those with disabilities, so Saturday he spoke out on the 7 year anniversary of the death of his son, Jonathan.

Carey says a recent report on the amount of calls made to the New York State Justice Center about abuse and serious incidents against the disabled or mentally ill needs to be addressed and handled better.

Governor Cuomo set up the center in an attempt to battle this major problem.

Seven years ago Jonathan Carey, who was diagnosed with autism , died at the hands of an employee of the Oswald D. Heck Developmental Center, a state facility, in Niskayuna.

Jonathan Carey would have been 20 years old this year.

His father told NEWS10 ABC, “I made a vow in my heart and in my own way I said to Jonathan, ‘Jonathan I will not forget your friends and so I'm not going to,'”

Michael Carey spends each and every day working in his office for the Jonathan Carey foundation.

“People with disabilities are worth it and New York State cannot continue to violate their equal rights, equal protections,” Carey said.

Carey says recent data released to him, and made public last week by the Associated Press, from the Justice Center is alarming.

Diane Ward, a spokesperson with the center set up last year to protect the disabled, confirmed it has received 25,000 reports of significant incidents, abuse, neglect and deaths in its first six months. Carey says he filed for more information, as did the Associated Press, and were both told the number of calls that lead to prosecution or when 9-1-1 was involved would not be released to the public.

Carey said, “They withheld the number of calls that were reported to the police and to county elected district attorneys. I believe the numbers are so low and disgraceful that the last thing they want to do is release those numbers.

“By bypassing 911 emergency reporting system you bypass the criminal justice system in most case and you bypass New York State penal laws.”

Ward did not have any comment for NEWS10 ABC on why the public will not have access to how many calls are handled by police or lead to prosecution.

As for NEWS10 ABC's other questions, she said the data speaks for itself.

New York State announced last year that the Oswald D. Heck Developmental Center will be closed in 2015.

O.D. Heck center still busy without residents

Aerial view of the Oswald D. Heck Development Center in Niskayuna. (Photo provided)Aerial view of the Oswald D. Heck Development Center in Niskayuna. (Photo provided)


POSTED BY: KATHRYN HUME APRIL 3, 2015

State yet to decide on Niskayuna facility’s permanent future

BY REBECCA ISENHART
Gazette Reporter
NISKAYUNA — The final resident of the Oswald D. Heck Development Center on Balltown Road in Niskayuna has left the facility as part of a decades-long push to transition people with developmental disabilities out of institutional settings and back into their communities.
The campus remains a functioning state facility, however, with numerous employees performing administrative tasks for the Office of People With Developmental Disabilities, which operates it.
The O.D. Heck closure is the first of four scheduled across the state between 2015 and 2017.
“We have already closed 17 facilities with the closure of O.D. Heck, and we have three more that will be closing,” said Jennifer O’Sullivan, director of communications for the state agency.
About 150 employees provided resident care and support when the closure was announced, all of whom were offered jobs within other state-operated programs. O’Sullivan said she did not know how many accepted the offer or whether any needed to relocate to do so.
The final day of the residential program at the Balltown Road location was referred to as the “end of an era” in the agency’s Spring 2015 newsletter, but many were relieved to learn its doors had closed, perhaps none more so than Michael Carey of Delmar, whose 13-year-old autistic son, Jonathan, was killed in 2007 by an aide who improperly restrained him during an outing from the facility.
“Thankfully, O.D. Heck Developmental Center has been closed,” he wrote in a news release Tuesday. “O.D. Heck will always be remembered for being the place where 13-year-old Jonathan Carey lived and was tragically killed.”
Carey made reform of care for institutionalized disabled people a personal crusade after his son’s death, even mounting a brief campaign for governor in 2014.
O.D. Heck’s operations were repeatedly marred by lawsuits and investigations into improper treatment of residents and inadequate staff review of resident injuries. A 2012 lawsuit claimed aides beat a 22-year-old man and stepped on his hands in order to confine him to a small, blue gym mat.
Several aides faced charges in 2008 relating to an allegation that one punched a blind, autistic woman in her 40s and others failed to intervene. A judge later dismissed those charges.
However, many residents and their families were satisfied with the care they received at O.D. Heck. The facility supported people with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and autism spectrum disorder for many years, and the prospect of finding somewhere new to live caused some trepidation.
The agency’s newsletter tells the story of JoanMarie DeRocco, who moved into O.D. Heck in 1985. Now 39, she does not speak, although she communicates with hand signs. Her autism disorder causes her to rely heavily on routine for comfort, so her family worried about moving her to a new home.
DeRocco ultimately joined a group home with three other residents and, after a few sleepless nights drinking tea with aides, she settled in.
The agency’s initiative to eventually close all but one small institution, which would be used only for temporary interventions, is part of a trend accelerated by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1999 ruling in Olmstead v. L.C., which stated that people with disabilities have a right to receive support in the most integrated setting possible, joining their communities rather than living in isolation. New York had begun the process of deinstitutionalizing the disabled years before the ruling, but progress has been slow. The first facility was shut down in 1987, and by the time the Bernard M. Fineson Developmental Center in Queens closes, three decades will have passed since.
The state’s plan to close O.D. Heck’s residential facility, first announced in 2013, set off a flutter of speculation and concern about the future of the buildings and the land they occupy. At the time, residents expressed an interest in re-zoning for a mixed commercial and residential area, but Ray Gillen, chairman of the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority, said it’s not clear whether redevelopment will be necessary at all.
“Their role as a residential [care provider] for folks who live there is over, but the state still has a major presence there,” he said. “It is a very busy complex that is still performing a lot of services. They have a large workforce and a major administrative presence at that facility.”
Gillen said he and Niskayuna town Supervisor Joe Landry have been in touch with the state periodically since the plan to shut down residential services was announced, but state officials have not yet decided whether to sell all or part of the facility.
“A lot of the buildings will continue to be occupied by state functions and administrative offices,” Gillen said. “Right now, we have nothing to redevelop.”
This story originally appeared in The Daily Gazette.

Mother Settles for $2.25 Million in Lawsuit Claiming Abuse of Disabled Man at O. D. Heck

By ANEMONA HARTOCOLLISAPRIL 15, 2015
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The mother of a developmentally disabled 22-year-old man who died soon after arriving at a state-run home near Schenectady, N.Y., will receive $2.25 million to settle a lawsuit charging that workers had beaten and humiliated him.
The lawsuit, which was settled Wednesday, did not directly accuse the state of causing the 2011 death of the man, identified only as K. C., and who suffered from malnutrition and pneumonia. But the suit charged six workers at the state’s Oswald D. Heck Developmental Center with torturing and starving K. C. by beating him with a stick, gagging him and denying him food and water if he moved off a small gym mat where he was kept alone all day long.
His mother, identified in court papers as P. C., said in an interview on Wednesday that she was haunted by not having realized why her son was reluctant to return to the center after a Christmas visit home.
“He fought me all the way there, but it really didn’t click then,” his mother, 61, a home health aide who lives in Syracuse, said. “I thought maybe he wanted to stay with his mom. But I know now that it was more than that. That’s what bothers me. I should have known. I should have known.”
The Heck center was closed by the state last month. “There was a culture of abuse and a culture of covering up abuse,” Ilann M. Maazel, the lawyer for P. C., who is a partner at Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, said Wednesday.
The settlement came just five days before the case was scheduled to go to trial.
The alleged abuse became public only after a whistle-blower, a developmental center employee named Mary Maioriello, reported it to The New York Times in 2011, and it became part of a series of articles about conditions at state-run homes for the disabled.
In a deposition in the lawsuit, Ms. Maioriello said she was told by Sharon Butler, one of the workers and a named defendant in the case, that she would survive as an employee at the Heck center if she kept her “mouth shut.” Ms. Maioriello ultimately went to the newspaper because “no one was listening to me,” she said. “No one was changing anything. No one cared.”
The Times’s series led to a set of reforms, including the creation of an office, the Justice Center for the Protection of People With Special Needs, that fields and investigates reports of abuse. Among the other cases described in the series was that of a Heck center resident, Jonathan Carey, who was 13 when he died in 2007. The boy was crushed to death in the back of a van by a state worker who was restraining him, while another worker driving the van did not intervene. Jonathan’s family received a $5 million settlement.
Photo
A complaint says the man was beaten with two notched and broken sticks, which the staff called “the magic wand.” CreditOffice for People With Developmental Disabilities
Jennifer O’ Sullivan, a spokeswoman for the state’s Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, said in a statement that the agency “takes the safety and security of the individuals it supports very seriously and considers any abuse of an individual in its care completely unacceptable.” She said the newly created Justice Center would allow the state to pursue abuse claims more effectively.
The complaint on behalf of K. C. named six workers: Ms. Butler, Lisa Taylor, Laurie Tomassi, Eric Sadlon, Lekisha Terrell and Harshanie Boudnaraine. The Times articles described how few employees who were accused of abuse lost their jobs, and as of 2014, at least five of six workers in the K. C. lawsuit were on the state payroll, according to a database maintained by the Empire Center for Public Policy. The state would not say whether they were still employed today.
Harris Dague, an assistant attorney general representing five of the six workers, did not return calls for comment, and Ryan Donovan, the lawyer who represented the sixth, declined to comment on Wednesday.
Until middle school, K. C., the youngest of five children, lived at home with his mother and attended school. But at 13, needing a higher level of care, he was sent to an institution, Heartspring, in Wichita, Kan., where he thrived, according to court papers.
At Heartspring, his mother said, he was able to follow simple instructions, like brushing his teeth, given to him using picture cards. He loved riding a tricycle around the campus, she said. He craved affection, but could be mischievous, court papers said.
In June 2010, when he was too old to stay at Heartspring, his mother placed him at the Heck center, where she was told she could not see him for the first three months, to avoid adjustment problems, according to the court complaint.
At the center, he was required to stay on a gym mat in a corner of a room. He was beaten with two notched and broken blue sticks, which the staff called “the magic wand,” and denied food and water when he tried to leave the mat, the complaint said.
The workers stepped on his hands, stuffed towels in his mouth, and referred to K. C., who weighed under 100 pounds, as “it,” “the thing, “the sparrow” and “the walking plague,” but never by his actual name, the complaint alleged.
K. C. was taken to the hospital on Feb. 28, 2011, eight months after entering the developmental center. He was unconscious and placed on life support, the complaint said. He showed signs of malnutrition and had bacterial pneumonia. He died a month later.



francine marino

June 17, 2011
I shared the horror and shock of so many other readers. Moreover, as the mother of a profoundly disabled 16 year old girl, I am even more...

Sal

June 17, 2011
This is why we need newspapers and real journalists. Someone has to look out for the public, and individual bloggers, no matter how...

Stacy

June 17, 2011
I hope to read a follow-up article reporting on the termination and filing of criminal charges against Kate Bishop, Andrew Morgese, and...
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  1. Records of Abuse JUNE 5, 2011

  2. High Costs at Centers for Disabled JUNE 5, 2011

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  4. Answers About Abuse in State-Run Homes




http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/22/nyregion/ny-state-settles-jonathan-carey-wrongful-death-lawsuits.html?_r=0

N.Y. / REGION

$5 Million Payment to End Suits Over Death of 13-Year-Old Boy in State Care

By DANNY HAKIMSEPT. 21, 2011
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ALBANY — The State of New York has agreed to pay $5 million to settle two civil suits brought by the family of a boy with autism who died in state care, among the larger wrongful-death settlements ever paid by the state.
The boy, Jonathan Carey, was 13 when he died in 2007. He was slowly crushed to death in the back of a van by a state worker who was restraining him, while another worker, driving the van, failed to intervene. Depositions of state officials and caregivers have highlighted startling lapses in care at the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, the state agency that runs more than 1,000 group homes and institutions.
The Carey case was the subject of an examination in The New York Times this year, and Jonathan’s father, Michael Carey, has become the state’s most outspoken advocate for the developmentally disabled.
In a written statement, Jonathan’s parents, Michael and Lisa Carey, said: “We miss Jonathan every day, and we are so proud of him. We know that his life and all that he suffered has and will continue to help countless other children and adults with disabilities.
“Our hope is that all people with disabilities will be treated as special and valuable and have all the basic safety measures put in place to protect them.”
The office of Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, which handled the case on behalf of the state, would not comment on Wednesday, but the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities released a statement.
“The death of Jonathan Carey was a horrific tragedy,” Travis Proulx, a spokesman for the agency, said. He said that since early this year, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the agency’s commissioner, Courtney Burke, had been overhauling all aspects of the agency’s operations “to ensure the safety of the individuals we are privileged to serve.”
The Cuomo administration has taken a number of initial steps to overhaul the agency, including replacing its commissioner, amid a continuing investigation by The Times about problems of abuse and financial malfeasance. Critics of the agency, however, say it remains deeply troubled.
Photo
Jonathan Carey, a 13-year-old with autism, died in 2007 while being restrained.
“Nothing will bring Jonathan Carey back,” the Carey family’s lawyer, Ilann M. Maazel of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, said. “But we hope his case will spur much-needed reform in the way we care for the most vulnerable people in our state.”
Jonathan’s death came at the hands of a state employee, Edwin Tirado, who had worked nearly 200 hours without a day off over 15 days. Mr. Tirado, a ninth-grade dropout with a criminal conviction for selling marijuana, had been on duty during at least one previous episode of alleged abuse involving Jonathan. Court records also showed that Nadeem Mall, the van’s driver, had been fired by four private providers of services to the developmentally disabled.
Abuse and injuries were rampant at the state institution where Jonathan was a resident, the Oswald D. Heck Developmental Center, near Albany. Two months after his arrival in 2005, the federal government prohibited it from accepting new residents financed by Medicaid after it failed inspections, a step unknown to the Careys and other parents.
The two cases were filed in February 2009, one in state court and one in federal court. The federal case listed more than a dozen current and former state employees as defendants, while the state was the defendant in the state case. Both were concluded as part of the settlement.
Several revelations emerged in depositions in recent months, including administrative failures to restrain overtime. Mr. Tirado had once worked 84 days in a row, and a co-worker told an investigator that Mr. Tirado was so exhausted a week before Jonathan’s death that she told someone at the time, “Either he’s going to kill someone or himself.”
A state psychologist also told the police that for Mr. Tirado, overtime “was like a badge of honor.” The psychologist added: “I asked Edwin when he slept. He said he didn’t.”
David Slingerland, the state official who oversaw O. D. Heck as well as a number of state-run group homes at the time of Jonathan’s death, acknowledged in a deposition earlier this year that the amount of overtime Mr. Tirado had worked was a cause of Jonathan’s death.
Mr. Tirado was later convicted of manslaughter, and Mr. Mall pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide. The two men drove around for more than an hour after Mr. Tirado silenced Jonathan, without checking on him or calling 911.
Shortly after Jonathan’s death, the state passed a law that gives parents access to investigative reports of cases of alleged abuse involving their children.
A version of this article appears in print on September 22, 2011, on page A25 of the New York edition with the headline: $5 Million Payment to End Suits Over Death of 13-Year-Old Boy in State Care. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe

Abused and Used

VIDEO

The Death of James Taylor

By Erik Olsen | Nov. 5, 2011 | 6:01
Danny Hakim of The New York Times interviews the mother and sister of James Taylor, who died at age 41 while he was at a group home near Schenectady, N.Y.
Related:
Article: In State Care, 1,200 Deaths and Few Answers

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