Adam Dzialo

Adam Dzialo
Our son, Adam Dzialo, age 30

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Crimes Against Humanity ... "I don't luv NY!!"

      I am a voracious reader.  I am the parent of a severely disabled child.  I would never, ever allow him to be cared for in a state-operated facility.  While I am aware that neglect and a lack of care is evident in a multitude of settings which provide care for the disabled, none rival the recent report in the NY Times concerning the abject physical and sexual abuse of the fragile.  You cannot read this report based upon a year long study without feeling nauseous and vomiting.  Shame on the state of  New York!
      Forty years after New York shuttered it's warehouses for the developmentally disabled, small group residences emerged to serve people with Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and Autism.  New York created these homes with scant oversight and virtually no accountability for employees who perpetrated indescribable crimes.
      The New York Times investigated these placements over the past year and found widespread and unaddressed issues (crimes?) in many of the 2,000 group homes.  There were 100's of cases of clients who were sexually abused, beaten and taunted because of their disability.  In many of the cases, employees (those trusted with the care of the most fragile people on earth) who committed these heinous offenses were transferred, rarely terminated.
       In 2009, there were 13,000 documented allegations of abuse in state operated and licensed group homes.  A mere 5% of those allegations were referred to law enforcement.
       In a review of 399 disciplinary cases involving 233 workers who were accused of 1 of 7 serious offenses, the state was only successful in terminating 30 workers.  Most offenders received fines, short suspensions or loss of vacation time.  The reason: unionism.
       The state of  New York has no educational requirements for employees of groups homes for the disabled.  Even some employees with criminal backgrounds were not disqualified from employment.
       There is much blame to be spread.  A lack of regulation and oversight by the State and a lack of adequate funding are probably contributing factors.  Employment policies which allow people to be hired who shouldn't even be walking our streets are absent.  First and foremost in the line of blame are unions who represent these employees.  Any union which defends a person's employment status when they are accused of abuse of a disabled person is anti-American, anti-labor, anti-humanity.  While I reluctantly respect the rights of unions to bargain for wages, hours and a limited number of conditions of employment, I know that unions defend (almost to at the death) the right an an employee to keep their job without consequences.  I have seen it happen regularly in education where I was a high school principal for 30 years.  I see it more clearly in the New York Times report where unions protected human garbage from loss of employment.
        The very actionable offenses against the disabled are tolerated and defended because of the inability of the disabled to speak for themselves.  The abuse and its defense is not a minor issue, it is a high crime against humanity.  I have never really believed in capital punishment, but today I do!  There is no place in a civilized society for any person who would abuse in any manner a disabled person.  If I believed in a god who would judge and punish, I may feel a long-distance sense of relief in cosmic justice.  Since I don't believe, it must be incumbent upon humanity to dispense justice on behalf of the disabled.  That justice must extend to those who created this system, to those who have abused within the system and to those who protect the abusers and allow them to re-abuse.  Yes, there is a place in our society for a public hanging in a very public square.
        You can read the entire five page report at the following link, only if you have a very strong stomach or access to a bottle of tranquillizers:


  1. Can't afford to read the article Phil. This is exactly why, when there was even the intimation of possible wrongdoing, that I removed my son from possibly the only place that could help take care of him for a few hours a day. There older kids were sometimes rationed water in the summer months so as not to wet their trousers. There was a police investigation: the police detective in charge said, "rationing water? That's not assault."

  2. Dear Phil,

    You are just fantastic. I love how you find these articles and rebroadcast them I think it's great that you are raising awareness like this and championing the injustice, the indignity and the outrage.

    I "used" to love NYC, but after that I'm not so's a bit like when when I went to India as a child, and just finished admiring the most beautiful hand woven rug to then go outside and see the kid a little younger than myself, all skin and bones, with most of their fingers missing from being worn-off, making more beautiful rugs! The guy said oh when that one dies, I'll just get another!

    And how many other towns around the world could this be going on. I had NO idea and feel totally ignorant toward the whole concept that this could and does go on.

    OMG Eric, I'm glad I didn't see the police detective, rationing water (unless there is a drought) is just so cruel. I'd like to ration the police detective's water intake during the Summer and see how he likes it!

    Phil, we're going to have to have a separate page of "mean" where we blacklist the places across the world where we need to financially boycott!

  3. I've been dealing with puke and mucus for the last two and a half weeks but this is the first time I've felt disgusted. What can we do about this travesty? Would you mind if I put your post up on my Facebook page?

  4. Eric: I understand. When the unconscionable exists it can open dark holes ...allows us to perceive ultimate evils exist.

    Mel: Thanks for the comments, there is so much ugliness in the world. I guess that's why we are blessed with the purity of our kids. They stand in such contrast to the world around us.

    Erica: Hope Izzy is better and you get reprieve. Of course, please share. I think change evolves when more people are aware that these hellish places exist and that their ire is raised to revolution. There are many good people out there who simply don't know...So, feel free to spread the word and hopefully more people will be outraged.

  5. Phil, as others have said, thank you so much for helping to shine a light on these kinds of abuses. I was abused as a kid and never got any compassion or help within my family for what happened, so I am keenly aware of the feelings that people feel under these kinds of conditions.

    I wish that all people would wise up to the fact that we are all so fragile and vulnerable; anyone can become disabled at any time, and if for no other reason than utter self-interest, people ought to be standing up and shouting from the rooftops about this stuff. I think that many people live in denial of their own fragility, and so do not want to look at what happens to vulnerable people. Those of us who are able to look and to weep and to protest must do so. Thank you for being such a strong voice on behalf of the right of every human being to live a safe and dignified life.


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