Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, D-Long Beach, is accusing a Brookville-based agency serving the special needs community with abusing his son at its residence in Plainview.
Weisenberg and his wife, Ellen, filed a federal lawsuit Monday against AHRC Nassau, an agency which serves developmentally disabled people in residential settings around Long Island.
In the lawsuit, the Weisenbergs allege that their son was physically and psychologically abused at the agency's Plainview living facility.
Weisenberg told Newsday: "The thought of someone hurting him is almost unspeakably painful to us," of his son Ricky, 54. "We will continue to speak out on his behalf."
AHRC Nassau issued a statement Monday about the Weisenbergs' lawsuit: "We are disappointed that our longtime friend would choose to name us in a lawsuit of this nature," the statement said.
The elder Weisenberg is among the legislature's leading advocates for the disabled. Weisenberg grew up in Long Beach and was a teacher and police officer before entering public office. He and his wife have five children.
The lawsuit, filed in federal district court in Brooklyn, also makes allegations against Dwayne Edwards of West Hempstead. Edwards, an employee at the Plainview site at the time, verbally abused and hit Ricky Weisenberg in the presence of others, the suit contends.
The incident took place three years ago, on April 9, 2009, the suit claims. The suit asks for unspecified damages.
Ricky Weisenberg, 54, suffers from cerebral palsy and can't speak. He still lives at the Plainview facility, the elder Weisenberg said.
AHRC Nassau assists the developmentally disabled with housing and other services.
Weisenberg told Newsday that he learned of the abuse charge from AHRC Nassau officials in 2009. The agency was complying with legislation authored by Weisenberg in 2007, requiring that guardians be notified when allegations of abuse surface.
Newsday said Weisenberg filed the lawsuit three years afterward because "we thought the authorities we went to would do something, but they didn't."
According to AHRC Nassau's statement "the employee was immediately relieved of his duties. An investigation was opened by an independent, internal unit of AHRC Nassau and all parties were notified that day."
The investigation took one day and resulted in the firing of the employee, the statement said.