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Law supports families of abused disabled

ALBANY — New York will no longer prohibit families from making use of once-secret reports that detail abuse of their disabled relatives in state facilities.

The state had long stamped the terms “confidential” and “do not distribute” on the reports. That hindered families from pursuing abuse cases involving their loved ones through legal action and even law enforcement.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill changing that into law Tuesday. It was prompted by a series of New York Times articles that exposed allegations of widespread abuse in state facilities and what the state acknowledges was an unacceptable lack of referrals to law enforcement.

The bill was co-sponsored by Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg. The Democrat recently settled a federal lawsuit alleging his disabled son was hit and verbally abused at a Long Island group home.