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Advocate fights to remove sex offenders from group homes for the disabled

September 26, 2018 11:11 PM

There are more than two dozen sex offenders living side-by-side with our most vulnerable in Monroe County, according to the Jonathan Carey Foundation. 

The foundation was started in 2007 in memory of Jonathan Carey, a 13-year-old with autism who died in a group home after being suffocated by staff who improperly restrained him. 

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"I've been doing this for 11 and a half years and it's absolutely wearisome because I'm fighting a system that does not want to change," said Michael Carey, Jonathan's father. 

According to the state Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), privacy laws prohibit agencies from letting families know if, or when this happens, leaving many in the dark when special needs loved ones are living under the same roof with sexual predators. 

Carey also claims incidents that do occur aren't reported and aren't prosecuted. Instead, Carey says many incidents are dealt with internally and kept quiet.

"They discriminate against the disabled and deny them equal access to 911 medical and police services," said Carey. 

Federal law requires state & federal Medicaid-funded facilities to be free of abuse and neglect, human rights violations and sexual exploitation. 

That is hard to guarantee when the most vulnerable are roommates with sex offenders. 

According to the Disabled Rights Protection Commission, only three percent of sexual abuse cases get reported. 

The DRPC also estimates about 90 percent of people with developmental disabilities will experience sexual abuse at some point in their lives. 

"Right now around 8,000 calls a month go into the state abuse hotline a month," said Carey. 

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, R-NY, is calling on the New York State Attorney General’s Office to investigate saying, “Placing convicted sex offenders in the same state-run homes as the developmentally disabled is a new low, even for Governor Cuomo.”

You can read the full letter by clicking here.

Credits

Beth Cefalu

Copyright 2018 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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