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$2.25M for family of disabled man who died while aide texted

January 24, 2018

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York state will pay $2.25 million to settle a lawsuit filed after a disabled man choked to death in a state-run group home while an aide allegedly texted her boyfriend from the bathroom.

Eddie Velasquez’s death in 2014 came one day after choking on turkey he took from the kitchen of an Ithaca group home. The 48-year-old man with developmental disabilities was considered a choking risk and was not to be allowed to be near food without supervision.

Investigative documents obtained by The Associated Press showed that the aide who was supposed to be watching him exchanged 137 text messages. And a co-worker said the aide “spent most of the day in the bathroom texting” her boyfriend.

The state will not say whether the aide was disciplined or fired.

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