Cops: 4 Busted for 'Instigating' Fight Between 2 Developmentally Disabled Men

The four were seen and heard laughing during the attack, police said.

Stephen Komara. Photo Credit: Southampton Town Police
Stephen Komara. Photo Credit: Southampton Town Police
Four Long Island Group Home workers  are facing felony charges after instigating a fight between two developmentally disabled men, police said.

According to Southampton Town police, the incident was reported to the New York State Justice Center for the protection of people with special needs hot line.

On Thursday, NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Special Prosecutor Patricia E. Gunning announced that three direct care workers, employed by Independent Group Home Living Program, Inc. were arraigned on felony charges for allegedly watching and encouraging an individual with developmental disabilities in their care to attack another man with disabilities. 

The group home is located in Southampton Town, said Southampton Detective Sgt. Lisa Costa, but due to the fact that the individuals involved are "unable to defend themselves," the location is not being disclosed.

After receiving the report on the hot line, a  call center representative opened a case tracking file, police said.

The Southampton Police Department initiated a criminal investigation and made the arrests after obtaining "disturbing cell phone video," which recorded the incident. In the video, all four defendants are either seen or heard laughing as the attack transpired, police said.

“These arrests should serve as a warning that the Justice Center and the district attorneys of this state will not hesitate to prosecute behavior that violates, endangers or causes injuries to vulnerable New Yorkers,” Gunning said. “We commend the efforts of the Southampton Police detectives who investigated this incident. This is an example of the close collaboration we seek to achieve with dedicated local law enforcement professionals across the state to ensure that justice will be served.”

Arrested were Erin McHenry, 29, of Brookhaven, 29, Justin McDonald, 19, of Lindenhurst, and Stephan Komara, 58, of East Moriches. They were charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person in the first degree, a felony.

Bail was sent at $10,000 for each of the three defendants; they were remanded to the Suffolk County Correctional Facility.

A bench warrant was initially issued for a fourth defendant, Rosemary Vanni, 44, of Eastport; she also faces two felony counts of endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person. At 3:20 p.m. on Thursday, Southampton Town Police located and arrested Vanni on the outstanding Bench Warrant for failing to appear in court for her arraignment.  She will be held overnight and be brought to Southampton Town Justice Court on Friday.

All four defendants were terminated from their positions, police said.

“IGHL acted swiftly in the interest of their clients and was instrumental in our successful investigation,” said Costa.

The case is being prosecuted by Justice Center Deputy Special Prosecutor Jacqueline Kagan.

Get Off My Lawn February 06, 2014 at 06:47 PM
Disgusting. I wonder what else they have done.
Doctor Montalban February 06, 2014 at 10:51 PM
The kid Justin looks like Ronald McDonald's gay son
brookhavenconfucius February 07, 2014 at 12:27 AM
Thanks for publishing their photos. These CREEPS deserve ALL the public humiliation AND the FULL FORCE of The Law !
krisann February 07, 2014 at 06:54 AM
I thank the person who received that video and did the right thing and reported it. Not to many of those people around nowadays
frank February 07, 2014 at 07:12 AM
justin , if your father doesnt beat the living crap out of you , i'll be glad to do the job ,....
frank February 07, 2014 at 07:13 AM
and as for the other 2 women , i have no problem slapping the sht out of you both ,.....signed, the father of a disabled boy ,...
Jackie Milton February 07, 2014 at 07:38 AM
Thank goodness there are still people who do something when they such a terrible act committed. I commend the person who turned them in. The four criminals should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law!
Tina Christie February 07, 2014 at 08:10 AM
Thank God someone had the nerve to step up and take action. I hope they get what they deserve but I am sure they won't. My daughter left this field because of the abuse in her house when she spoke up they let her go she treated them like her kids but some it's just a paycheck that's sad because many of the people don't even have their family they just forget them because they are developmentally disabled. Very sad to be treated like this.
Cecilia Watts February 07, 2014 at 09:55 AM
These are only the four that have been caught! I know of people that live at IGHL and they have had unexplained bruising, broken bones and mutilation to their bodies. Some of them even mysteriously pass away. Their internal investigation dept is a disgrace. Hope this opens the eyes of the Justice Center as well as the local police to do full investigations and criminally prosecute all individuals that cause harm to a disabled person. The administration should be held legally responsible also for these crimes. Where is the house manager or nurse in these homes that is legally and morally responsible for reporting these incidents? They are probably texting her/his friends or talking about what they did the night before; maybe even attending to their own child that they bring to work. Saw this too many times to mention. There needs to be a restructuring of these facilities...Cuomo are you up to it or are you putting your head in the sand too? Forget about the administration; it's the good old boys club and they don't see anything that goes on at their facilities! Anyone up for a golf outing or luncheon; this is where the IGHL administrators put their energy and attention.
anna cast February 07, 2014 at 09:56 AM
Throw the key away on these sick bastards, let them get a taste of state prisons.
barb66 February 07, 2014 at 10:06 AM
This is a disgrace! These heathens need to do serious jail time and I am absolutely positive Karma will take care of them while they Are there! I was blessed to have worked in a group home with developmentally disabled adults and had an AMAZING group of coworkers! I would stil be there today if a turn if events hadn't left me disabled. I am very grateful to have been able to work with the participants and their families. Its an honor for me to have been so trusted to care for their family member
Chris F February 07, 2014 at 01:16 PM
I want to believe that 4 people who work together could not be as cruel as described. God bless there souls if it is true.
Marian Larson February 08, 2014 at 09:36 AM
This story is heartbreaking. Why aren't these homes equipped with cameras?
suzanne February 09, 2014 at 10:37 AM
Everything boils down to money. Until we value our most defenseless citizens enough to pay a respectable wage for direct care workers, we will continue to see these horrific stories. You get what you pay for. In this case, you got creeps who were attracted to the job for the freedom to boss others around. These direct care workers were probably under-trained and poorly supervised as well. Our priorities in our society are very twisted. We worship celebrities and begrudge true heroes (teachers, first responders, health care professionals, direct care workers, etc) a living wage and ongoing support. What do we expect?
Ronald P. Matonti February 11, 2014 at 09:44 AM
Where are the murderers or murderer of the over a dozen women that were thrown on our beaches?
Sal Anthony February 11, 2014 at 08:04 PM
I hope these criminals burn in hell!!!
DonGlover February 14, 2014 at 02:42 PM
Lol @ the hickey on the 2nd womans mugshot
brookhavenconfucius February 14, 2014 at 02:50 PM
GOD only knows how she got it ! EEEEEEEeeeeew !


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