- Associated Press - Thursday, October 8, 2015

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - A New York judge on Thursday awarded $2.5 million to the estate of a disabled woman who was sexually assaulted multiple times in 2009 at a state group home in Orange County.

The decision by Court of Claims Judge Stephen Mignano said the state is liable for gross negligence for Paula Liblick’s pain and suffering before she died in 2011 at age 62.

“Paula finally got a little justice,” said her brother, Bill Liblick, who filed the claim. “They took me to trial to defend my sister’s rape and say there was no responsibility on their part.”

Meanwhile, the state has filed a $1.7 million lien against his sister’s estate, seeking reimbursement for her care, despite failing to protect her and the perpetrators still unidentified, Liblick said.

The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, responsible for the now-closed Sycamore Home, did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the ruling and the lien.

Paula Liblick, who had the mental capacity of a 1-year-old, lived in the small group home with four other residents and was found with injuries that were evidence of multiple sex assaults in December 2009, Mignano wrote. He described security at Sycamore Home as poor, with no surveillance cameras, entrance and back doors regularly left unlocked, and no regular supervision of aides on weekends.

“The aides who observed bruising on Paula’s thighs did not report their observations to anybody, did not seek medical attention for Paula, did not record their observations, and did not take any steps to protect Paula from further harm,” Mignano wrote. “The staff was concerned about the possible repercussions to them from Paula having been injured, so they first did nothing, then attempted to hide it. This is sufficient to establish defendant’s negligence, as well as gross negligence.”

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