Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Abusers Can Simply Move On

THE PHOTOGRAPHS of Michael Ferrara's face tell much of the story.

Blood pooling under his swollen eyes showed that the 25-year-old had been punched - hard. The marks around his neck were a clear sign of strangulation, his doctor said.

But Michael, who was living in a Delaware County group home for mentally handicapped adults at the time of the February 2008 assault, couldn't tell police what happened.

Born with a genetic mutation that caused severe brain damage and left him unable to speak or communicate normally, Michael can't identify his assailant.

"He can't even tell you who hurt him and what they did and how they did it," said his mother, Judi. "He's 25 years old, but he's like a child."

As a result, no charges were filed. And without a criminal conviction, whoever attacked Michael - police say most of the evidence pointed to his overnight caregiver - is free to work with similarly disabled adults.

"These people can continually work in the field," Ferrara said. "They can leave one agency and go to another agency."

That's because Pennsylvania is one of only five states in the nation without an adult-protection law that gives county or regional agencies the authority to investigate and record incidents of alleged abuse or neglect of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Children and the elderly are already covered.

Full Article and Source:
No Law to Protect Vulnerable Adults


Betty said...

Many times our vulnerable adult dependents are abused in group homes and when their family complains, family is shut out.

See www.FreeNancy.com

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry, Michael's family. Worrying about Michael's safety must keep you up all night and in constant stress.

I will pray for all of you.

Anonymous said...

But wait, if Michael couldn't give any verbal evidence of what happened to him, then how is having a law going to change anything?

I don't mean that there shouldn't be laws, please don't misunderstand.

But, I'm just saying if there wasn't enough evidence without Michael's testimony, then if there was a law, there still wouldn't be enough evidence.

Norma said...

Background checks and certification are a must! Every day, we see more and more of these heartbreaking stories.

The predators are seeking the vulnerable and they're finding them.

Mike said...

Stores have cameras, banks have cameras -- almost anywhere you are, there's a camera.

Group homes should be mandated to have cameras to catch these bullies in the act and have irrefutable evidence of their guilt.

Anonymous said...

I am outraged!

Michael's family, I suggest you sue the group home. They are responsible for Michael's safety and if there's not enough evidence to prove who did it, it still happened on the group home's watch.

If they were sued, they might just think it's important to get closed circuit TV or cameras to watch their employees.

How About said...

What about a state wide (followed by nationwide) database of caregiver offenders?

Anonymous said...

Wait just one minute, are they saying the police can't investigate?

Something's wrong here. Or maybe better said, something's wrong in Pennyslvania.