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Teen's Restraint Death Trial Starts
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 3, 2007

ALBANY, NEW YORK--The manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide trial of Edwin Tirado Jr. began Monday in Albany County Court.

Tirado, a former worker at the state-run Oswald D. Heck Developmental Center, is accused of suffocating 13-year-old resident Jonathan Carey while on an outing on February 15.

Investigators claim that Tirado and fellow O.D. Heck employee Nadeem Mall took Carey and a 16-year-old resident on what was supposed to be an outing to a shopping center. While Mall, the driver, was out of the vehicle using a bank ATM, Tirado improperly restrained Carey in the back of the van, investigators say.

At some point, Carey, who had autism and could not talk, stopped breathing, lost consciousness, and died.

But instead of administering CPR, calling for help, or taking the boy to an emergency room, the two staffers went shopping.

Police say that the pair drove around for the next 90 minutes, picking up drinks at a convenience store, purchasing a video game at a toy store, and dropping it off at Tirado's home, before heading back to the facility -- all the time knowing Carey's dead body was in the back of the van.

Mall pleaded guilty in July to criminal negligent homicide, accepting a six-month sentence in exchange for his testimony against Tirado.

According to the Times-Union, Assistant District Attorney David Rossi told the jury Wednesday that Tirado sat on Carey and "squeezed the life" out of him.

In May, Governor Eliot Spitzer signed "Jonathan's Law" to give parents and guardians of children at state-run institutions access to child abuse investigation files and medical history records. The law also requires facility officials to notify parents and guardians within 24 hours of a report of abuse and neglect. Additionally, officials must meet with parents or guardians and explain what action was taken in response to each report.

Jonathan's parents, Michael and Lisa Carey, had been pushing for parents to have greater access to information about their children's treatment at residential facilities. In 2004, they pulled Jonathan out of the privately run Anderson School, claiming he was abused and neglected by staff there. They sued that facility, and then started their campaign for more transparency of staff and incident records.

"Aide's trial starts in autistic boy's death" (Times-Union)
"Aide sat on autistic teen, jury told" (Times-Union)

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