Stephen Komninos

Name: Stephen J. Komninos.
Died: October 8, 2007.
Age at death: 22.
Cause of death: Negligence; Choked due to lack of supervision.
Location: Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Details:
At eight years old, Stephen moved into a group home. He would spend the rest of his life in such institutions. As an adult, he worked at shredding paper, selling bagels, and as a parking lot attendant.

Stephen’s teachers remember him as a sociable young man with non-verbal autism and a big smile. One teacher recalls how he used to share a pretzel with them every Wednesday; another remembers Stephen having fun at a Halloween party.

Stephen’s tendency to choke while eating was known, and his care plan specified that he was to be within arm’s reach of an aide at all times. Nevertheless, Stephen’s aide took him to a convenience store to buy a bagel, then left Stephen alone to buy himself a cigar. When the aide came back, Stephen choked on the bagel, and his aide did not know how to administer first aid. Stephen died in the hospital.

Stephen’s family joined with the families of other disabled adults to advocate for the “Stephen Komninos Bill”, which increased oversight of group homes in New Jersey.

References:
Stephen Komninos’s Obituary
Stephen J. Komnios case in New Jersey Superior Court Appellate
Stephen J. Komninos Obituary
The “Stephen Komninos Law” is desperately needed in New Jersey
3 questions from Gov. Chris Christie’s Palisades Park town hall meeting
Stories of abuse at N.J. group homes spark lawmakers to demand action [Graphic Image]
Guestbook for Stephen J. Komninos
Bills Would Protect Developmentally Disabled from Abuse and Neglect
Stephen Komninos’ Bill and the Fight for Abuse Reporting
From Tragic Death, a Law to Safeguard People with Developmental Disabilities
Christie to decide on greater oversight for group homes

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