Culture Of Abuse Rampant At Group Homes, Investigation Finds
A year-long New York newspaper investigation has uncovered hundreds of cases where group home staff within the state abused residents and faced little consequence.
Employees suspected of beating or sexually assaulting residents of the state’s more than 2,000 group homes were rarely reported to law enforcement — despite a law requiring as much. Instead, workers were frequently transferred to other state-run residences where many faced fresh allegations of abuse, according to records reviewed by The New York Times.
Overall, The Times found about 13,000 allegations of abuse in 2009 alone among state workers in group homes serving people with developmental disabilities. Less than 5 percent of the cases were brought to the attention of police.
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State officials often blamed an agreement with the employees’ union for limiting what could be done to discipline workers, some of whom were allowed to keep jobs despite criminal convictions or evidence of abuse. Meanwhile, they turned a deaf ear to a whistle-blower who raised concerns about practices within the homes.
Upon learning of the newspaper’s findings, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo pressured two top state officials responsible for overseeing the group homes to resign.