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GUILDERLAND: A hope for reform: Family pushes to change law

This is the second story in a two-part series

Michael and Lisa Carey, who contend that their son, Jonathan, now 13, was neglected while in the care of a residential school for the autistic and developmentally disabled in 2004, are currently embroiled in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit with the Anderson School in Staatsburg, which they hope will send the message that abuses like the ones they allege their son went through would not go unpunished.

The Glenmont couple, however, is taking their campaign one step further.

Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, an advocate for the mentally disabled, said he is working for the Careys and other families to pass a law that would allow full access to records and to ensure that regulatory agencies have an obligation to report wrongdoings in Jonathan's case, by a regional Office of the Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, known as OMRDD.

We want to prevent any of these situations from occurring and the best way to do that is to acknowledge that the events are occurring," said Weisenberg.

The Careys said that, while Jonathan was at the Anderson School, they learned, through medical reports and employees' journal entries, that he was being neglected and food was withheld as means of behavior control.

In the three years since the events surrounding the alleged abuse of their son have unfolded, a number of investigations have been launched by law enforcement and regulatory agencies looking into the Careys' allegations.

The most extensive to date was done by OMRDD, the results of which came from a monthlong investigation. The Careys received a one-page summary of the findings. The full report, they said, contains about 400 pages of material.

The parents contend that the report holds the key to unlocking the mysteries surrounding their son's experiences in his two years at the Anderson School.

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