7 years after son’s death, local father continues fighting for those with disabilities

DELMAR, N.Y. — Michael Carey does not take a day off from advocating for those with disabilities, so Saturday he spoke out on the 7 year anniversary of the death of his son, Jonathan.

Carey says a recent report on the amount of calls made to the New York State Justice Center about abuse and serious incidents against the disabled or mentally ill needs to be addressed and handled better.

Governor Cuomo set up the center in an attempt to battle this major problem.

Seven years ago Jonathan Carey, who was diagnosed with autism , died at the hands of an employee of the Oswald D. Heck Developmental Center, a state facility, in Niskayuna.

Jonathan Carey would have been 20 years old this year.

His father told NEWS10 ABC, “I made a vow in my heart and in my own way I said to Jonathan, ‘Jonathan I will not forget your friends and so I'm not going to,'”
Michael Carey spends each and every day working in his office for the Jonathan Carey foundation.

“People with disabilities are worth it and New York State cannot continue to violate their equal rights, equal protections,” Carey said.

Carey says recent data released to him, and made public last week by the Associated Press, from the Justice Center is alarming.

Diane Ward, a spokesperson with the center set up last year to protect the disabled, confirmed it has received 25,000 reports of significant incidents, abuse, neglect and deaths in its first six months. Carey says he filed for more information, as did the Associated Press, and were both told the number of calls that lead to prosecution or when 9-1-1 was involved would not be released to the public.

Carey said, “They withheld the number of calls that were reported to the police and to county elected district attorneys. I believe the numbers are so low and disgraceful that the last thing they want to do is release those numbers.

“By bypassing 911 emergency reporting system you bypass the criminal justice system in most case and you bypass New York State penal laws.”

Ward did not have any comment for NEWS10 ABC on why the public will not have access to how many calls are handled by police or lead to prosecution.

As for NEWS10 ABC's other questions, she said the data speaks for itself.

New York State announced last year that the Oswald D. Heck Developmental Center will be closed in 2015.

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