Workers at a home for people with developmental disabilities are being accused of grossly abusing their power and forcing residents to fight one another.
Four people working at the Independent Group Home Living facility in Long Island, N.Y., allegedly coerced two of the home’s residents, who are in their 50s, to attack one another, CBS New York reports.
“They encouraged them to strike each other –- one knocking over the other in the wheelchair -- and then rewarding them with praise,” special prosecutor Jacqueline Kagan, of the New York State Justice Center for Protection of People with Special Needs, told the news outlet.
One of the workers recorded the fight on a cell phone while the others stood by and laughed, Kagan said, per CBS. Authorities learned of the incident, which Kagan referred to as a "developmentally disabled fight club,” after the worker emailed the video footage to someone else, who then reported the video to the Justice Center hotline.
All of the accused have been fired and are being charged with endangering the welfare of a person with a disability, Long Island Newsday reports. Three of the four accused workers appeared in Southampton Town Justice Court on Thursday.
Independent Group Home Living released the following statement, per Newsday: "Our agency is outraged and offended by these alleged acts. ... Staff who were accused of being involved were terminated."
This isn’t the first instance of adults with mental disabilities being coerced into fights. In 2009, workers at a Texas state school for people with disabilities organized a "brutal fight club" among residents and recorded the sessions on their cell phones, ABC reported.