Woman uses DNA test from Ancestry.com to find mother’s rapist
Using a DNA test from Ancestry.com, a woman found that her severely disabled mother’s rapist was an employee who cared for her at a state home in New York 37 years ago and has now filed a lawsuit against the facility.
Maggie Cruz filed a lawsuit on behalf of her mother this week, alleging that her mother — who had the mental acuity of a 2-year-old, wore diapers and was unable to take care of herself — was raped by a janitor in 1985 and was pregnant under the care of the New York Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities.
Cruz alleges that her mother, identified as IC in court documents, was living at the Monroe Developmental Center (MDC) when administrators discovered in May 1986 that she was five months pregnant.
Administrators told her family they would investigate and file a police report, but they never did. The lawsuit alleges that the facility’s administrators recommended that she take birth control tests or have her tubes tied.
“My mother had a tough life,” Cruz said in a statement. “I hope this lawsuit will help her get the care she deserves. I live a blessed life and thank God for my incredibly supportive husband and five children who give me the strength to lead each day with compassion and grace.”
A spokesman for the New York Office for People with Developmental Disabilities said they could not comment on pending litigation but said that “the safety and well-being of the people we support is OPWDD’s highest priority.” We cannot comment on pending litigation.”
Residential services at the Monroe Developmental Center ended on January 1, 2013.
Cruz, who grew up knowing she was a child of rape, began investigating the circumstances of her birth in 2019. Through requests for records and a DNA test from Ancestry.com, she identified her father, a former caretaker at the facility, who lived in Rochester. New York and was taking care of her mother when she was sexually assaulted, according to court records.
The lawsuit alleges that New York State has a shameful history of abusing developmental patients in its care and argues that the Monroe Development Center was one such facility with a long history of violence and abuse dating back to 1974 when it opened its doors.
The complaint details gross neglect, physical and sexual abuse of patients, and other mismanagement at the facility of which IC’s parents were unaware at the time.
The lawsuit provided a number of examples of incidents at the facility, including one in which a male employee woke a boy from his bed and forced him to engage in sexual activity in the home’s living room. According to the lawsuit, two youths tried to fend off the employee while two women looked on and did nothing. One of the perpetrators had 30 to 40 young men under his care and also facilitated the hiring of several others, according to the lawsuit.
In June 1976, the volunteer services leader was arrested for raping a disabled 19-year-old boy, the lawsuit says. A security guard faced the same charges after using his master key to unlock the boy’s door. In May 1979, according to the lawsuit, the parents of a 14-year-old boy with a disability noticed bruises and welts on their son’s thighs and buttocks after just three days.
In 1980, a 49-year-old therapist was discovered in the bed of a 15-year-old patient, leading to a lawsuit and a liability judgment against the facility.
The Cruz lawsuit alleges that the facility also had some unusual patient deaths.
In March 1982, a 26-year-old man died after swallowing five surgical gloves. On July 5, 1982, a 21-year-old quadriplegic was left outside in the sun without fluids for four hours. He died of hyperthermia.
Between 1976 and 1985, at least 10 employees were identified as pedophiles and rapists, including staff supervisors, security guards and volunteers, court documents say. The complaint said they used psychological torture, including one case in which a 32-year-old patient was blocked with furniture in a 2-foot room for hours.
Many employees who committed crimes were fired, reinstated, suspended or failed to undergo background checks, the lawsuit says.
After birth, IC was returned to the same facility for another nine years. In 1995 she was transferred to another facility where she lives today.
The statute of limitations in the rape case has expired, but the civil suit is proceeding under the state’s Adult Survivor’s Act in what Cruz’s attorneys, Carrie Goldberg and Susan Crumiller, described as a “historic opportunity” to hold unsafe institutions of all kinds accountable to those most vulnerable of society here in New York – no matter how long ago the damage happened.”
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
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https://lawandcrime.com/lawsuit/woman-uses-ancestry-com-dna-test-to-identify-mothers-rapist-and-sues-institution-for-covering-it-up/ Woman uses DNA test from Ancestry.com to find mother’s rapist