Richard Buckley’s brother was killed in a state facility for people with disabilities—now he’s fighting for a law to protect others like him.
David Russell Buckley was born with Down syndrome and later developed other serious medical issues.
“He made me the loving passionate person that I am today,” Richard explained
In 1999, David was sexually abused by staff at a state care facility. An investigation commenced and the offending staff eventually quit or were moved to other houses—still able to continue their work despite the charges. David then moved to a state-run facility, where staff members also abused him.
“On March 29th, 2001 in a state-run group home David was forcibly made to shower because he soiled himself,” Richard said. “The woman charged with taking care of him had him held down in the shower area by another staff member as she then hosed him down with scalding hot water until this mute man was screaming in pain.”
More than 40% of David’s body was scalded with 2nd and 3rd degree burns. He went into immense shock, but 911 was not called for hours. Ultimately, two weeks later, he passed away because of the injuries. An investigation followed, but the criminal case was dropped by the Massachusetts district attorney, the woman who burned David is still able to work with the state.
Nearly 12,000 cases of caregiver abuse were reported in Massachusetts in 2017, and victims’ families are demanding the state pass “Nicky’s Law,” which would create a registry of abusive caretakers. However, it’s been held up in the state legislature for years.
“This needs to pass in Massachusetts,” said Richard. “It’s protecting our most vulnerable people.”