The abuse was brought to the attention of AHRC Nassau on April 6, 2009, and Edwards was immediately relieved of his duties. An independent unit of AHRC opened an investigation and concluded it three days later. According to both the lawsuit and a statement from AHRC Nassau, the allegations were substantiated by the investigation. Edwards was fired on April 10, 2009.
The suit alleges that by allowing the abuse to take place, AHRC “denied [Ricky] the opportunity to fully participate in and benefit from AHRC’s services, programs, and activities and discriminated against [him] by reason of [his] disability in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.”
Edwards told The New York Times that he never abused Ricky. AHRC Nassau said it was surprised to find out that it was named in Weisenberg’s suit.
“We are disappointed that our longtime friend would choose to name us in a lawsuit of this nature,” AHRC Nassau said in a release. “Over the past three and a half years, since the conclusion of this investigation, all of Mr. Weisenberg’s actions demonstrated his satisfaction with AHRC’s actions. Actions included hosting a luncheon for the remaining staff supporting his son and by encouraging other parents to ‘follow his lead’ and consider making a financial contribution to the organization. He is a regular speaker at all of the organization’s public events.”
Weisenberg, who is up for re-election this year, said that Ricky is still a resident of the organization’s facility. “It’s a wonderful facility,” said Weisenberg, who has served as an honorary board chairman of the agency. “But it’s not about the facility, it’s about the person. By law, the employer is responsible for the actions of their employee, so one bad person abused Ricky, but the action we’re taking is that we have to litigate the agency and the employee.”