Connecticut mother, roommate accused of abusing physically, intellectually disabled adult son

Zach Murdock, Hartford Courant
·2 min read

An Oakdale mother and her roommate have both been arrested after accusations of physical abuse against the woman’s intellectually and physically disabled adult son last fall.

Cynthia S. Brake, 61, and Gregory J. Garbinski, 54, were charged this week, almost four months after the victim was moved from their home to a residential facility where he could be helped at all times, court records show.

Garbinski is facing five charges, including third-degree assault and second-degree strangulation, after a staff member working with the victim at their home told authorities she witnessed him strike the victim with an open hand multiple times and choke him on another occasion, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Brake was charged with intentional cruelty to persons after she reportedly refused to intervene and stopGarbinski, the affidavit shows.

A staff member helping care for the victim — who is nonverbal and diagnosed with moderate level of intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and Reynaud syndrome — at his home first witnessed abuse on Sept. 15 when Garbinski smacked the victim in the face after he had spilled water, she anonymously reported to investigators for the Department of Developmental Services.

A week later she witnessed two more incidents in which Garbinski struck the victim in the face with an open palm, used his forearm to choke the victim and later petted the victim’s face, a known trigger for the victim, according to the DDS report.

The witness confronted Brake about the abuse and ultimately recorded multiple conversations, capturing discussions about how Brake and Garbinski sometimes treated the victim, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

The victim moved to a residential facility with 24/7 supervision in the first week of October and DDS investigators referred their report to Montville police, who opened their own investigation, records show. The woman who originally reported the incidents to DDS anonymously later came forward to speak with police about what she saw and shared her recordings with detectives.

Brake told detectives during a brief encounter at her home that she did not like the woman who had worked with her son and denied Garbinski struck him, according to the affidavit. She at first agreed to speak with detectives at the police department but later backed out.

Police obtained an arrest warrant charging both Brake andGarbinski and they were arrested Tuesday.

Both were released from custody after posting bond — $10,000 for Brake and $25,000 for Garbinski. Brake is scheduled to appear April 1 andGarbinski on April 9 in Superior Court in Norwich.

Zach Murdock can be reached at