"In 1972, WABC-TV in New York sent rookie reporter Geraldo Rivera to Staten Island to infiltrate the Willowbrook State School. Robert Kennedy had visited the mental institution in 1966 and declared: 'Willowbrook State School was not fit even for animals to live in' Geraldo gained entry using a stolen key and documented the brutal horrific living conditions of its disabled residents, which included several children with mental limitations.
More than 45 years have passed since the investigative reporter Geraldo Rivera's documentary on Willowbrook State School in New York City revealed the gruesome and neglected conditions in which individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities lived under the protection of the state.
The Willowbrook State School
on Staten Island in New York City became infamous in a 1972 Geraldo Rivera broadcast that showed ill-clothed and underfed residents, crowded in shadowy rooms with nothing to do all day.
Among them are the studies of hepatitis induction at the Willowbrook State School
for the mentally handicapped, cancer cell injections in elderly debilitated patients at the Jewish Chronic Disease Hospital, and the failure to treat patients in the Tuskegee Syphilis Study.
The outcry over notoriously harmful experiments on unconsenting subjects in places like the Tuskeegee Institute and the Willowbrook State School
led in the early 1980s to protectionist federal regulations, following the recommendations of the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research.
The 204-acre campus, on the site of the former Willowbrook State School
will be the largest of any college public or private -- within the New York City limits.
More than 35 years have passed since the investigative reporter Geraldo Rivera's documentary on Willowbrook State School
in New York City revealed the gruesome and neglected conditions in which individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities lived.
Willowbrook State School was a New York State-run institution that for forty years serviced people with mental disabilities.
"Willowbrook State School," last modified on May 18, 2014.
A History and Sociology of the Willowbrook State School
The Willowbrook State School is an important part of the history of disabilities in the United States and is regarded by some as the "ground zero" of the disabilities civil rights movement.