A front-page New York Times article on the failings of New York State’s institutions for the developmentally disabled focused on the case of Jonathan Carey, a 13-year-old with autism who died while under institutional care in February 2007. A state employee, who had worked for fifteen days straight and for nearly 200 hours just before the incident, was convicted of asphyxiating Carey in the back of a van as he was being transported. The employee had a previous criminal record when he was hired at the facility.
The article was deeply critical of the State’s institutions, calling them “a system in disarray.” In addition to the Carey case, the article documented other stories of abuse, emotional and physical, as well as the institutions’ poor safety and living conditions. Since 2005, seven of the nine institutions dedicated to caring for the developmentally disabled have failed New York State Health Department inspections. The Times article further critiqued the institutions’ deficient qualification standards for employees and consistent failures to conduct meaningful investigations into abuse allegations. The Carey family is represented by ECBAWM attorneys Ilann M. Maazel and Zoe Salzman.