Cops: Group Home Workers Instigated Attack

Group Home Mugshots
Clockwise from Top Left: Rosemary Vanni, Erin McHenry, Stephen Komara and Justin McDonald, Mugshots: Southampton Town Police Department

Direct care workers with Independent Group Home Living Program in Southampton Town were arraigned Thursday on charges that they egged on a person with developmental disabilities to attack another person who was under their care, authorities said.

The Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs said that three workers were charged with two counts of first-degree endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person, a felony. Southampton Town Police Department Detective Sergeant Lisa Costa says that a fourth defendant was arrested Thursday afternoon after failing to appear in court for her arraignment on the same charges.

The three who appeared for their arraignments were Erin McHenry, 28, of Brookhaven, Justin McDonald, 19, of Lindenhurst and Stephen Komara, 58, of East Moriches. Bail was set at $10,000 each. The fourth, who missed her court appearance, according to authorities, was Rosemary Vanni, 44, of Eastport.

“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,” justice center special prosecutor Patricia E. 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.”

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

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