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Changes being considered at Life's WORC after videos show workers apparently mistreating group home residents

Administrators say they are considering putting security cameras inside common areas of the facility.

Kevin Vesey

Jun 6, 2023, 9:43 AM

Updated 376 days ago

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At least three videos from February or March appear to show disturbing incidents that took place at Life's WORC, a group home in East Islip.
One video obtained by News 12 on Monday shows a worker apparently kicking a resident of the group home that houses adult men with autism.
News 12 is told that that worker has been fired.
There are also videos that appear to show disabled residents being pinned to the floor and being slapped.
Susan Gonzalez, the mother of the resident who was pinned down, says she is now desperately trying to get her son out of the facility.
"It's very disturbing," Gonzalez says. "Now I'm very terrified, the way they treat my son. I feel like he's not safe anymore."
CEO of Life's WORC Matthew Zebatto says they did contact police to file reports about the incidents. It will be up to the police department whether criminal charges will be filed.
There are already cameras outside the home, but now administrators say they are considering putting security cameras inside common areas of the facility.
"It obviously cannot be done in the privacy of your rooms, bathroom, it's their home," Zebatto says. "We would like it to be private, confidential. We need consent from parents if we are to put cameras in common areas. It is now topic number one that we are discussing."
The organization operates approximately 45 group home facilities. Zebatto called the one in East Islip a "problem home."
"It is a cultural aberration, it apparently has been operating rogue," Zebatto says. "So, the investigation will certainly go beyond the confines of the home, and I assume it will be concluded in the near future."
In 2019, a former employee of Life's WORC pleaded guilty to his role in an incident that left a group home resident hospitalized.
The organization says they take all allegations of abuse seriously and have a zero-tolerance policy.


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