Michael and Lisa Carey are suing a number of OD Heck officials and the man convicted of killing their 13-year-old autistic son, Jonathan, on Feb. 15, 2007 on the eve of the anniversary of his death.
The Carey's filed the lawsuit in federal court this morning, Thursday, Feb. 12, and has hired a civil rights firm to represent their case. Carey died while in the care of OD Heck employee Edwin Tirado, who was later convicted in Albany County Court of manslaughter for improperly restraining Carey.
John's Civil Rights were violated and so were ours, Michael Carey said during a telephone interview. "There was a lot of negligence on numerous other people [besides Tirado] that had knowledge of what we believe was a cover up of abuse."
Among other things, Carey said the couple is suing OD Heck, a state agency, for improperly training employees, allowing too much overtime for workers, improper discipline actions against employees, and poor screening and hiring practices.
When asked why he and his wife are suing now, nearly two years after their son's death, Carey told Spotlight Newspapers that it took time to build his case.
"It was a lot of work getting all of this together and finding a good civil rights attorney," Carey said. "We are hoping this case will spur changes because there's a lot of problems in the [state's] mental health facilities."
Carey said this case is on behalf of his son and the "thousands of others who are abused or neglected."
For more on this story return for updates to www.spotlightnews.com or read the Wednesday, Feb. 18, print edition of The Spotlight.