WASHINGTON – Representative Tom Reed has requested the Department of Justice to investigate the New York State Justice Center for failure to investigate reports of abuse involving people with disabilities under New York State care.
The New York State Justice Center is tasked with investigating all reports of abuse and neglect towards people with disabilities and prosecute criminal offenses through special prosecutors and local district attorneys.
Since its inception in 2013, nearly 1,400 allegations of staff abuse, patient neglect, sexual assault, and even death, have been reported to the state Justice Center.
According to state records, however, the Justice Center only investigated less than 2.5 percent of these allegations, with only a “small percentage” of those investigated crimes ever prosecuted.
Reed said his office was made aware of the uninvestigated crimes from Michael Carey, whose autistic son was smothered to death by a state employee.
“We care about these people who are being mistreated and abused and will fight to ensure those responsible are held accountable for their actions,” said Reed.
“For Governor Cuomo’s Justice Center to sweep these crimes under the rug, it is unfair for the people our government is charged with protecting.”
Tom was joined by State Representatives Lee Zeldin, Peter King, and Elise Stefanik in requesting this investigation to the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Michael Carey, President of the Jonathan Carey Foundation, said New York State’s unequal treatment of people with disabilities is a discrimination of civil rights.
“The Justice Center has been receiving nearly 8,000 calls a month to its abuse hotline and almost all reported sexual assault crimes and negligent deaths are kept from local police, criminal investigations and from district attorneys.”
Carey said a federal investigation by the US Department of Justice is “critical” to stop the Justice Center’s failure to protect those people it’s set out to serve.
“People with disabilities have the same 14th Amendment right to ‘equal protection of laws,’ when they are victims of crimes, as anyone else.”