Sandra Abdo and Sarah DiLallo were sentenced for their role in the death of a special needs woman, Heather Roselli, living in the group home where they worked in Webster, New York.
Roselli, 35, was living in a group home on Pierce Street that was operated by the Finger Lakes Developmental Disabilities Services, according to 13 WHAM.
On June 18, 2017, she was found unresponsive in her bed. Emergency medical responders transported Roselli to Rochester General Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Prosecutors stated that Roselli died from multiple internal injuries, including a lacerated liver, broken ribs, and asphyxia.
She also sustained rug burns on her feet.
Following a three-month investigation, Webster police officials uncovered that Roselli’s death was the result of an attack by two employees, DiLallo and Abdo, then 60, at the group home.
Monroe County police stated that DiLallo and Roselli got into a verbal altercation after she wanted to call her father on Father’s Day.
When the argument turned physical, Abdo purportedly got involved.
In a statement, Monroe County Assistant District Attorney Leslie Schildt said: “Heather Roselli was an intellectually disabled person who needed the help of the OPWDD for daily life. Her family entrusted the staff at this home with their daughter’s life and her care.”
“She should not have died this way—in the hands of those who were entrusted to take care of her,” said District Attorney Sandra Doorley. “Crimes against our community’s most vulnerable are unacceptable.”
DiLallo admitted to slamming Roselli to the ground while calling her derogatory names.
DiLallo and Abdo then proceeded to restrain Roselli on her stomach for 45 minutes, which caused her to go into a cardiac arrest, the Webster police said.
Monroe County investigators stated that DiLallo and Abdo were in direct violation of the state protocol for subduing a patient when they turned Roselli on her stomach.
“This is something no family imagines,” said Assistant District Attorney Leslie Schildt. “You put a family member in a home like this; you never think this is going to be how it ends. I know that they’re [Roselli’s family] dealing with a lot of complicated issues right now.”
“This is a case that I’m hoping will bring attention to group homes in general,” Schildt said. “There are thousands of people who work in these group homes every day who are in it for the exact right reasons.
“They’re in it because they care about people. But one of the things with these homes is that you have a very vulnerable population.”
DiLallo and Abdo were arrested.
They were booked into the Monroe County Jail in lieu of $15,000 cash bail or a $30,000 bond.
DiLallo told police that she received proper training and was aware that it was incorrect to put a resident in that position.
Scott Sandman, OPWDD director of communications and public affairs, said:
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss of life. OPWDD immediately notified local law enforcement and the State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs to ensure that this matter is investigated and appropriately acted upon.”
Abdo pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide, and DiLallo pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter and first-degree endangering the welfare of an incompetent person.
On Nov. 7, 2018, the group home workers were sentenced. DiLallo received a prison sentence of one to three years.
Abdo did not get jail time. She was sentenced to five years of probation.