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Careys call for expansion of Jonathan's Law

One year after the death of Jonathan Carey, an autistic 13-year-old who died while in the care of two O. D. Heck employees, his parents have come back to the capitol in Albany.

Jonathan's parents, Michael and Lisa Carey, held a press conference last Friday, Feb. 15, on the anniversary of their son's death and called on the governor and state legislature to toughen Jonathan's Law and make children's medical records more accessible.

Jonathan's Law is named after Carey and was signed into law by Gov. Eliot Spitzer in May of 2007. The law entitles parents and legal guardians to access records of child abuse investigations and medical records.

The bill opened up four years worth of records for parents of children with disabilities, but an amendment to the law effectively closed the window of opportunity to access past records at the end of the 2007 calendar year.

Michael Carey said he believes that all records should be accessible at all times and asked the governor to extend access for another year.

Eliot Spitzer has failed his responsibility as governor, Michael Carey said of the governor not extending the records deadline. "It takes a leader to stand up and he has not done that. Shame on him for that."

Two O.D. Heck employees, Edwin Tirado, 35, and Nadeem Mall, 32, both of Schenectady, were convicted on separate charges in Jonathan's death. The two men were transporting Jonathan, along with another teenage resident, to Crossgates Mall in Guilderland when Tirado restrained Jonathan, who was reportedly being unruly at the time, according to court records.

Police said Jonathan stopped breathing as a result of being restrained, and the two men continued running errands in the O. D. Heck transportation van. The two men reported the incident two hours after Jonathan stopped breathing.

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