Press Contact: Michael Carey – 518-852-9377

“Walking Tall for Justice” State-Wide Tour Comes to the Infamous Willowbrook State School

Press Conference: Friday, October 30th

Where: Site of the Willowbrook State School  – Call Michael Carey’s cell for exact location: 518-852-9377

When: @ 10 AM

The Jonathan Carey Foundation (JCF), along with the Disability Rights Project (DRP), have teamed up to expose and clean up New York State’s extremely dangerous and deadly mental health care system. Put simply, the reforms initiated by NY State have failed to clean up the rampant abuse that has led to the death and maiming of countless developmentally disabled residents of the state-run system

The “Walking Tall for Justice” State-wide tour on behalf of the developmentally disabled abused while under state supervised care, will continue tomorrow at the site of the infamous Willowbrook State School that became known in the 1970s for its abuse of the mentally disabled.

Michael Carey, someone who knows personally about the systemic failures, and whose son Jonathan was murdered while under state care, points out that the current bureaucracy in charge of caring for the state’s most vulnerable residents is badly broken:

“It is critical that parents and legal guardians know the truth of the severe dangers in these facilities and group homes and what to do to better protect their loved ones. Immediate and direct reporting to 911 is critical and could be a matter of “life or death”. Also, calling the County elected District Attorney, as well as the DRP or JCF hotlines are vital for there to be justice.

The just released National ABC story titled “NY agency to protect the disabled rarely brings charges” reveals once again the failed practices of internal policing. Most crimes against people with disabilities, as well as untimely deaths of our most vulnerable State residents are disappearing internally. This must be stopped now. The rampant abuse and neglect has continued in staggering scope since the Willowbrook expose in 1972 and nothing significant has been done to stop or prevent these horrors. One of the critical answers to ending the discrimination against New Yorkers with disabilities is to stop denying them immediate 911 first responder medical and police services and to stop denying them the same and equal protections of laws. The 911 reporting bill A8307/S6010 is already in place to be brought to the floor and passed in the NYS Senate at the beginning of the year and we are asking Speaker Heastie to do the same in the NYS Assembly”


As Rob Sanoriella, a founder of the Disability Rights Project indicates:

This facility, Willowbrook State School, was closed in 1987 due to the deplorable conditions that persisted for many years for its residents, with promises by the State that substantial changes will be made to protect some of our most vulnerable residents.  As an attorney in practice for almost 15 years with a specialty in protecting the civil rights of residents of these facilities, I have found that the conditions in these modern day facilities are similarly deplorable.  This cannot be accepted, and that is what the Disability Rights Project is fighting to change.


NY State has failed to take emergency actions to prevent or stop these staggering numbers of physical and sexual abuse, neglect and untimely deaths. The civil rights violations continue and extremely large numbers of vulnerable people with disabilities and/or mental illness are dying at extremely young ages.

How many more innocent people like Jonathan Carey, Rasheen Rose, Paula Liblick and countless and nameless others must die or be raped over and over again before 911 is even required by law to be called and numerous other real reforms happen? How many more multi-million dollar lawsuits have to happen to “WAKE UP” this administration? These three lawsuits alone, regarding three precious human beings that are no longer with us now due to gross negligence, total close to $10 dollars in justified settlements.

Instead of moving to stop and prevent the wide-scale rampant abuse and neglect of our most vulnerable this current administration has taken significant steps to cover up most reported cases. What has been spun and presented to the media, people with disabilities and their families, as well as the general public, to convey that dramatic reforms to protect the disabled have been enacted is blatantly untrue.

Today, in 2015, in New York State alone over 7,000 calls are reported to the State abuse hotline every month according to State documents and the emergency 911call system is not required by law to be called, 911 is being bypassed in most cases keeping almost everything happening behind closed doors “in house.”

This purposefully enacted failed policy of not requiring by law immediate and direct reporting by mandated reporters to call 911 is keeping emergency first responder medical and police from being able to respond swiftly to assist and further protect the disabled victims after the crime, injuries or death occurred.

Keeping local medical and police personnel “out of the picture” ensures that in most cases injuries are not properly documented, independent criminal investigations do not happen and the vital timely collection of evidence to prosecute these cases does not happen. These current practices also ensure in most criminal matters that swift arrests hardly ever happen.

Most egregiously, according to State records, most individuals involved in committing crimes against our State’s most vulnerable are protected from even going on to the State Abuse Registry called the Staff Exclusion List (SEL). Even if possibly fired abusive staff can easily go down the street to another direct care agency and be hired. This insanity must end.

On average there are approximately 250 calls a day into the State abuse hotline signaling major systemic problems and of those calls daily 11-12 are deaths. Most reported cases are never independently investigated or even looked at as a possible crime and most are literally disappearing. Almost all imaginable safety and abuse prevention measures that anyone would assume were already in place to protect our disabled are non-existent.

For more information: Michael Carey at (518) 852-9377

Every Second Counts – It’s important to act immediately… Call 911

For Justice also call us anytime day or night…

DRP hotline  1-888-830-8182

JCF hotline – call (518) 475-7500