To Protect Our Most Vulnerable Population with surveillance cameras outside State run Group Homes and Day Programs.
Please Support “Paula's Law” New York State Assembly Bill A01059 and New York State Senate Bill S03623 mandating surveillance cameras be installed outside State run Group Homes and Day Programs.
“Paula’s Law” is named after Paula Liblick who was raped in her state run group home. Paula’s horrific story must never happen again.
Security cameras are everywhere, but when it comes to protecting our most vulnerable and loving members of society, The State of New York and The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities has been negligent.
In December 2009 Paula Liblick was raped in her state run group home, but it was not until she was brought to her day program several days later when her black and blue marks on her thighs and bleeding from her diaper was reported.
Protecting our most vulnerable should be a given in every civilized society, shamefully such has not been the case in New York. We have a long history of neglect and abuse when it comes to the developmentally disabled.
Even further deplorable is how difficult it is to convince lawmakers to approve changes that would safeguard and deter crimes against our most vulnerable.
New York State Assembly Bill # A01059 also known as “Paula’s Law” was introduced by Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther mandating surveillance cameras be installed outside State run group homes and day programs.
New York State Senate Bill # S03623 also known as “Paula’s Law” was introduced by State Senator David Carlucci mandating surveillance cameras be installed outside State run group homes and day programs.
“Paula’s Law” must be passed immediately to prevent what happened to Paula from ever happening again.
To hear about Paula Liblick’s horrific story, please view Paula’s brother Bill Liblick’s 2011 testimony before the New York State Assembly Committee looking into Group Home abuse - please view this link, http://vimeo.com/26473727
Bill Liblick’s Plea:
My 62 year old severely and profoundly developmentally disabled sister Paula Liblick is dead today because of neglect.
In December 2009 Paula was raped in her state run group home, but it was not until she was brought to her day program several days later when her black and blue marks on her thighs and bleeding from her diaper was reported.
Paula was rushed to hospital and then the rape unit. I held Paula and lifted her as doctors conducted the extensive examination. With tears in all of our eyes, the worst of our fears materialized. The exam proved trauma in several places in her vagina. Paula was raped.
After an extensive investigation by The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities five employees at Paula’s group home were fired. The group home is now closed.
In January 2011 Paula became very ill and was in four hospitals until she passed away April 2011. Paula was battling uncontrollable green water diarrhea, vomiting bile, pneumonia, pancreatitis, urinary infections, high fever, shingles, yeast infections, required four blood transfusions and so on.
A biopsy from a simple colonoscopy that other hospitals did not do revealed Paula had strongyloides. Larvae from the parasite usually found in the Caribbean entered her body when she was raped.
The very day doctors discovered the parasite, Paula died because of even more neglect.
Paula was found unconscious with no blood pressure or pulse for at least 30 minutes, with a New York State contracted health aide at her bedside.
I spent the next week with Paula in ICU, and even though her blood pressure and heart rate went back to normal, there was no oxygen in her brain for her to live.
Paula’s bright blue eyes, striking eyelashes, beautiful red hair, and eternal smile that brought nothing but love to everyone who knew her, is now gone forever.
The big business of group homes over shadows care for the developmentally disabled. The New York Times detailed this in a series entitled "At State Run Homes, Abuse and Impunity." In vivid description they highlighted many of the problems and abuse.
It broke my parent’s heart placing Paula in Letchworth Village. I remember them spending their life savings on a car so we could visit her each and every week. Then came the Willowbrook/Letchworth Village scandals, I cried with my parents as we watched Paula on the evening news lying on the floor partially dressed and drenched in urine.
And, now the biggest tragedy of all, some sick pathetic animal raped Paula and infected her with a parasite. I continually ask myself, what did she do to deserve this? Whom did she ever harm? I thank God my parents are not alive to have gone through this.
What a great legacy Paula would be leaving knowing that she helped others live a safe and secure life.
Paula’s horrific story must never happen again. I appeal to all elected officials to support “Paula’s Law.”
PO Box 526
Swan Lake, NY 12783
From the Legislative Gazette:
New hope for Paula's Law
Legislation would put cameras at entrances to OPWDD facilities
Bill Liblick will not give up on the legislation that bears his sister's name. Paula's Law (S.2000/A.1715) would require the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities to place video cameras on the entrances and exits of all its facilities as a way to prevent abuse and protect both patients and staff.
The bill is named in honor of Bill's sister Paula Liblick. Paula was a 62-year-old, developmentally disabled woman who was raped while living in a state run group home in December of 2009. The injuries were noticed several days later when a caretaker at her day program was changing her diaper.
Paula died in April of 2011 from Strongyloides, a sexually transmitted parasite, native to the Caribbean, which is believed to be a result of the rape. Five employees from the Hudson Valley group home were fired and it has since closed down. No one was ever arrested for the assault because there were no video cameras, or a way of tracking visitors.
"When it comes to protecting our most vulnerable, New York looks the other way. It's reprehensible," said Bill Liblick.
The legislation was introduced in both the Senate and Assembly last session but did not move out of committee. The current bill has bipartisan support from 18 lawmakers.
Liblick said state buildings, hospitals and even convenient stores have cameras for protection, so why not group homes?
"It's not a privacy issue, we just want them [cameras] at the exits and entrances. It will protect staff members as well, no one seems to be looking at it from that angle," Liblick said. The bill is sponsored this session by Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, D-Forestburgh, and Sen. David Carlucci, D-Clarkstown. Liblick said he was happy with the bipartisan support he has received from senators and assemblymen.
When asked why the bill was not passed on the first attempt, Gunther said, "I thought it was a great bill. Sometimes it takes more than a year, that's the reality of it." Gunther hasn't shown any sign of letting up on this bill
"I'm going to make every effort I can to get it passed," she said.
Liblick, who was devastated by the loss of his sister and the way it happened, has vowed to work 24 hours a day until Paula's Law is passed. He said he thinks the bill is crucial in ensuring no one goes through the pain he has, or has to watch a family member suffer the way Paula did.