That’s because in New York and most other states, details of abuse and neglect investigations in state-regulated institutions for the disabled, addicted and mentally ill are almost never made public, even with the names blacked out.
Spokesman William Reynolds said it cannot release detailed information on its cases – even with identifying material removed – because of state and federal rules involving medical and personnel privacy, and law enforcement investigations.
Last year, for example, it reported substantiating 4,169 cases of abuse or neglect in public and private care regulated by the state.
In Florida, home to one of the most open government records policies, officials routinely cite privacy laws to withhold details about deaths of people in state care.
In Wenger’s case in a group home in the upstate New York city of Rome, state investigators found that the 41-year-old man’s maggot infestations were the result of several days of neglect by caretakers who were supposed to keep the tracheostomy clean.