Media Shines Spotlight on Allegations of Abuse at New York’s Institutions

E-Newsletter Issue Date: Thursday, June 16, 2011

In recent months, the New York Times has published two stories on conditions at New York state-operated programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The most recent article detailed the Oswald D. Heck Developmental Center and the death of Jonathan Carey, a 13-year-old autistic boy who died from asphyxiation caused by a state employee charged with caring for him.

The heartbreaking story includes details of how Jonathan was treated and abused at this center, starting just a few weeks after he moved in, when his parents saw his nose was so swollen that he had to be taken to the hospital. The New York Times interviewed former employees who tried to report abuse and neglect going on at the center, most of which fell on deaf ears.

NYSARC, Inc. has been urging the New York State Legislature to immediately pass Senate bill 5257-b and Assembly 7670-b. The legislation requires immediate termination of employees with substantiated allegations of physical or sexual abuse and is a direct response to the first New York Times story published on March 13.

These two powerful news articles spurred hearings at the state capitol in Albany, which wrapped up this week.