Woman unravels decades-old mystery of disabled mom’s rape

Magdalena Cruz grew up knowing that a horrific crime had taken her own life.

She was born in 1986 to a mother who was unable to care for herself. For ten years, Cruz’s mother was a resident at a state facility for the severely disabled in Rochester, New York. She was non-verbal. She was 30, but she had the intelligence of a 2-year-old, wore diapers, and needed constant care. Since she could not consent to sex, it was clear she must have been raped when it became known that she was pregnant.

The facility manager told the woman’s family that another resident was likely responsible and would report it to the police and conduct an internal investigation.

Nearly 40 years later, Cruz says he has solved the mystery of his father’s identity himself, using mail-order DNA tests and a popular genealogy database.

He was an employee of the facility, not a resident, according to a lawsuit she filed this week.

In addition, Cruise also learned through her own investigation that no police report was filed, no employees were interviewed, and no action was taken by management. .

“The facts about her birth were far more shocking and grotesque than her family could have imagined,” her lawyers filed with the Office of Persons with Developmental Disabilities, the government agency that oversees state-run institutions. I am writing to the lawsuit.

Criminal prosecution is no longer possible as the legal deadline has long since passed. The lawsuit was made possible after New York enacted a law last year that temporarily removed the statute of limitations for long-established sexual assault lawsuits.

The search for Cruz’s birth story began about four years ago. Her attorney said she started by requesting records from local and state authorities regarding her mother’s care. She received her progress note from when her mother was at the Monroe Development Center, revealing a series of injuries before and during her pregnancy. There were bite marks on her chest, a cross-shaped birthmark on her shoulder blade, and a 9-inch (23-centimeter) scar. She scratched her back, the lawsuit said.

“I like men of color who are naked and sometimes yell, jump and eat fast,” wrote one curator.

Infuriated by what the records showed, Cruz underwent genetic testing through and was matched with relatives on his father’s side in Virginia. She searched online for photos of her family. One of them showed a girl who resembled his own eyes. She identified the girl’s father and searched online to discover that at the time of her birth he was living in Rochester, not far from the Monroe Development Center.

In 2019, she submitted her findings to police, who said they confirmed the man worked at the facility, but that it took too long to charge them.

In the 1980s, the family was unaware of multiple incidents of resident abuse at the Monroe Development Center, which was closed by the state in 2013.

Between 1976 and 1985, at least 10 staff members, including supervisors, security guards and volunteers, were identified as pedophiles and rapists. According to the lawsuit, a number of residents died under unusual circumstances, including her 21-year-old quadriplegic patient who was left outside in the sun for four hours without ingesting bodily fluids. It also included a sudden rise in body temperature. Another resident died after swallowing five surgical gloves.

Cruz’s mother, referred to as IC in the lawsuit, now lives at another facility, which the AP will not identify unless the sexual assault victim agrees to be named.

“She can’t even talk about what happened to her. Without the pregnancy, we’ll never know,” Susan Crumiller, one of her attorneys, said Tuesday. We don’t know yet about the cover-up. “

After conception, records showed that the facility manager suggested contraception for IC

Crumiller, who filed the lawsuit with abuse survivor attorney Carrie Goldberg, said the birth control “masked the ongoing abuse, given that she didn’t and never had the mental capacity to consent.” There is no other purpose,” he said.

In a statement, the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities could not comment on the pending lawsuit, but said, “The safety and well-being of the people we support is OPWDD’s top priority.” rice field.

The man Cruz identified as the father has not been named as a defendant in the lawsuit. He could not immediately be reached for comment. A phone list with his name has been disconnected.

“We will probably never know how many other patients have been raped at this facility, how many times our clients have been raped, how many other rapists there have been,” Crumiller said.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

Until 2006, criminal charges for rape were prohibited in New York unless they were filed within five years of the crime. The New York Legislature has since repealed the statute of limitations for first-degree rape, but these changes have not been retroactively applied to past crimes.

In 2019, the New York Legislature extended the statute of limitations for second- and third-degree rape cases to 10 to 20 years, depending on the details of the crime.


Thompson reported from Buffalo, New York

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