Four New Yorkers who worked at a facility for the developmentally disabled were arrested after encouraging the handicapped residents to fight and then recording the brawls. Erin McHenry, Justin McDonald, Stephen Komara and Rosemary Vanni worked at the Independent Group Home Living facility on Long Island, but have since been arrested after praising the disabled residents whenever they hit another person.
Special Prosecutor Jacqueline Kagan said the four individuals “encouraged two developmentally disabled adults to participate in, what I said on record, is a developmentally disabled fight club.” One of the defendants e-mailed footage of a fight to a friend, in which one disabled person knocked over another one in a wheelchair. As the two disabled men fought, three of the suspects “raucously laughed” during the incident. The footage was eventually turned over to New York’s Justice Center Hotline.
All four have been fired from the facility and charged with endangering the welfare of a disabled person. These arrests should serve as a warning that the Justice Center and the District Attorneys of this state will not hesitate to prosecute behavior that violates, endangers or causes injuries to vulnerable New Yorkers,” said Special Prosecutor Patricia Gunning. Although reforms have been made in New York within the last decade regarding the treatment of developmentally disabled people in state care, abuse and neglect is the cause for dozens of their deaths every year.
(Photo: CBS 2)