For two years, Robert Gensiak’s world was his bedroom.   It was there his family kept him from doctors, even when his skin cracked and bled, and open sores formed from being forced to stay in his child-sized bed, covered in feces.   And it was there the 32-year-old man with Down syndrome wasted away to 69 pounds because, according to police, his mother and sisters were starving him to death.   On Wednesday, about three months after Gensiak died, police charged his mother, Susan Gensiak, 59, and two sisters, Joan, 35, and Rebekah, 24, with murder

Gensiak had been weakening and could not walk without assistance by the time the family called an ambulance on March 19 at the urging of his doctor, whom they had not taken Robert to visit for two years. Gensiak was taken to the Regional Hospital where doctors said he had severe psoriasis associated with hypothermia.  His body temperature was only 92 degrees.  He died March 20 and weighed just 69 pounds.

An autopsy revealed an extreme case of neglect.  Autopsy photos showed that his skin was a sickly yellow with cracked areas that had oozed blood and fluid.  Open sores pockmarked his body, so extreme in spots, that his bone was visible.   The remaining teeth that he had were loose and ready to fall out.  Lice covered his head and a pathologist found no food or significant fluid in his stomach, during autopsy.

His official cause of death was sepsis, due to the breakdown of his skin, plagued by a widespread infestation of scabies.  His open sores and malnutrition also contributed to his death.  The County Coroner ruled the manner of death as homicide due to neglect.

The house itself did not appear overtly dirty, but it was cluttered, and there was no indication that there was anything seriously wrong until you entered Gensiak’s room.   His room was a scene of utter filth.  His youth-size bed, his chair, and the floor were covered in fecal stains.

On March 25, police and Children and Youth officials took Joan Gensiak’s 2-year-old daughter, fearing for her well-being, because the home was riddled with scabies, lice and possibly ringworm.  Joan Gensiak told police that their doctor had diagnosed her toddler with scabies but she didn’t agree with the diagnosis so she refused to use the medication prescribed.   Instead, she decided to treat her daughter’s rash with baby oil.   The child was taken to the Moses Taylor Hospital emergency room in Scranton where she received treatment for scabies.

Joan Gensiak described herself as her brother’s caregiver, having moved into the home with her toddler to help her mother and her sister.  The three confirmed that Robert had Down syndrome and psoriasis, but denied he had any other medical conditions.  They said his psoriasis had been taking over his upper chest, back and feet for the last two weeks, but they were treating his condition with over-the-counter ointments and creams.  They had no means of transportation, so they could not get medical treatment for him, they told investigators.

When his condition worsened, they were finally forced to call Gensiak’s doctor, who urged them to call an ambulance and take him to the hospital.  Family members expressed concern that if they placed Robert in a personal care facility, the financial support that they received from his Social Security benefits would dry up.

Police charged Susan, Joan and Rebekah Gensiak Wednesday with third-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and neglect of care for a dependent person.  Joan Gensiak was also charged with endangering the welfare of a child.  Rebekah Gensiak is about eight months pregnant.  All three were arraigned and were sent to Lackawanna County Prison. Joan and Rebekah Gensiak are held in lieu of $250,000 bail. Susan Gensiak is held in lieu of $350,000 bail.  Preliminary hearings are scheduled for the three on June 26 at 11 a.m.

During the interview, investigators said, Gensiak’s mother asked if she would still receive her son’s Social Security check even though he died.

I keep talking about man’s continued inhuman treatment of each other and I am always surprised that normal functioning human beings can be so inhuman.  It is somewhat apparent that this entire family may have suffered from some form of mental defect, because how else can you explain away the actions of the mother and the two sisters.  To stand idly by and let your son and brother waste away is unconscionable.  It is also very apparent, that there was no lack of food in the house because all three females, as seen in video after their arrest and arraignment, were overweight and did not appear to be lacking in the nutritional department.

Unfortunately, it appears to be a case of neglect taken to the extreme and all about the money.

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