Man with Down Syndrome dies after horrendous neglect

By Dave Andrusko

Susan Gensiak, the mother of Robert Gensiak who was starved to death, is escorted by police

Susan Gensiak, the mother of Robert Gensiak who was starved to death, is escorted by police

Last week the mother and sisters of Robert Gensiak were arraigned on third-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and neglect of care for a dependent person charges in the starvation death of a 32-year-old Taylor, Pennsylvania, man who had Down syndrome. Robert Gensiak had “wasted away to 69 pounds because his mother and sisters were starving him to death,” reported Joseph Kohut of the Scranton Times Tribune.

The trio was sent to Lackawanna County Prison and preliminary hearings are scheduled for this Wednesday morning.

“This is the worst case of neglect I’ve seen the last 26 years,” said Lackawanna County District Attorney Andy Jarbola at a press conference Wednesday. “This family, the mother and two sisters, basically let this young man rot to death.”

The details are almost too gruesome to report. Gensiak died March 20 so weakened he couldn’t walk by himself to the ambulance after the family finally called the doctor he hadn’t seen for two years. “Mr. Gensiak was taken to Regional Hospital where doctors said he had severe psoriasis associated with hypothermia,” Kohut wrote. “His body temperature was only 92 degrees.” He continued,

“An autopsy conducted by forensic pathologist Gary W. Ross, M.D., revealed an extreme case of neglect. Autopsy photos show his skin was a sickly yellow with cracked areas that had oozed with blood and fluid. Open sores pockmarked his body, so extreme in spots that his bone was visible. As a matter of taste, The Times-Tribune is not publishing the photos.”

When police came by the day after he died to find out how his health had deteriorated so badly, “Family members expressed concern that if they placed Mr. Gensiak in a personal care facility, the financial support they received from his Social Security benefits would dry up,” Kohut reported. “Before the end of the interview, investigators said Mr. Gensiak’s mother asked if she would still receive her son’s Social Security check even though he died.”

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