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The story of a mentally ill man who crusaded for adult-home residents before his suicide last year resulted in a new state law that points to the need for change, a state watchdog agency said Saturday.

The Commission on the Quality of Care for the Mentally Disabled said the case demonstrates the need for better training of group home operators, more interagency cooperation and a better reporting system for allegations of abuse.

The 43-year-old man, identified in the commission report by the pseudonym Joseph Conway, was something of an enigma.

According to the commission, Conway was bright and articulate. His legal challenge to his home's attempt to evict him helped produce a state law requiring due process legal procedures for group home residents. In addition to his own battles with the operators of the Parkview Adult Home in the Bronx, the commission said he intervened on behalf of other patients.

Conway was a frequent critic of conditions at Parkview. Officials say about half his complaints, which ranged from a lack of heat to mistreatment by staff, were substantiated.

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