[Ed. – Inexcusable.]
Erin McHenry of Brookhaven, Justin McDonald of Lindenhurst, Stephen Komara of East Moriches and Rosemary Vanni of Eastport face felony charges of endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person, prosecutors said.
“These defendants encouraged two developmentally disabled adults to participate in, what I said on record, is a developmentally disabled fight club,” said special prosecutor Jacqueline Kagan, of the New York State Justice Center for Protection of People with Special Needs.
Kagan said one group home worker shot cell phone video while three others raucously laughed, as they encouraged two severely disabled men to fight.
“They encouraged them to strike each other – one knocking over the other in the wheelchair – and then rewarding them with praise,” Kagan said.
The disabled men – in their 50s but with the mental capacity of preschoolers – were residents of the Independent Group Home Living program in Hampton Bays.
The four defendants have been charged with endangering the welfare of a disabled person, and have been fired from their jobs. …
The case came to light after one of the workers allegedly e-mailed the cellphone video to someone else, who reported the case to the state’s brand new Justice Center Hotline. The hotline was created to protect the rights of people with special needs.