Judge Joseph Johnston has ruled that The Massachusetts Department of Families And Children (DFC) will have ‘permanent custody’ of 15-year-old Justina Pelletier, taking her away from her parents in spite of her own wishes and her rapidly declining health in state custody.
This case is a textbook example of child abuse promulgated by the legal system and an embedded bureaucracy, and it is worth looking at to see how far out of hand our ruling class has gotten.
Fourteen months ago, Justina, a Connecticut teen was being treated for mitochondrial disease, a group of rare genetic disorders affecting cellular energy production.Her physician who had been treating her, Dr. Mark Korson at Tufts, wanted the girl to visit gastroenterologist Dr. Alejandro Flores at Boston Children’s Hospital, who had treated Justina at Tufts in the past. Being loving and concerned parents, the Pelletiers made the appointment with Dr. Flores and duly went to Boston Children’s Hospital to have Justina seen.
When they got there, instead of seeing Dr. Flores, Justina was essentially kidnapped. She was taken to emergency where a resident refused to let her see Dr. Flores. Instead, he decided that this was a psychiatric case and sent Justina to a psychologist who diagnosed her with somatoform disorder — a mental condition in which a patient experiences symptoms that are real but are psychosomatic.
When the Pelletiers rejected the new psychiatric diagnosis and wanted to bring Justina back to Tufts, the hospital first tried to force the girl’s parents to sign papers admitting her as a psychiatric patient and when they refused and understandably became insistent at taking their daughter out of Boston Children’s, the hospital got the state Department of Family and Children involved and accused the parents of medical child abuse.
They were not permitted to bring Justina home or to another facility. Instead, the teen was kept at Boston Children’s psychiatric ward for nearly a year where her physical condition deteriorated while the parents unsuccessfully fought the system to get Justina released.The DCF has allowed the parents only one hour per week to visit their daughter, but always with DCF personnel present. DCF would not allow the parents to photograph their daughter, and even filed a motion to hold Lou Pelletier in contempt of court for speaking to national media.
“Tufts was working fine with her, diagnosed medically, going to school, ice skating and doing all those things,” Lou Pelletier said. “Look at her then and look at her now.”
The DCF also has refused to provide the medical care Justina’s condition requires, will not allow her access to a priest or to communion (she’s Catholic) has refused to make any accommodations for her education, with the result that she is now almost two years behind her classmates in school.
Three weeks ago, Judge Johnston approved a written agreement transferring care back to Tufts Medical Center from Boston Children’s Hospital. That still hasn’t been done, as Boston Children’s has refused to make any appointments with the doctors there in spite of Justina’s condition.
This decision by Judge Johnston was in response to a motion presented by the 15-year-old’s court-appointed lawyer and the lawyers for her parents, Linda and Lou Pelletier. It called for the girl’s parents to be awarded “conditional custody” of their daughter.
Instead, the judge has granted permanent custody of Justina Pellatier to the DFC…who have done absolutely nothing to help her.
In his order, Johnston noted that the court considered granting conditional custody to the Pelletiers but “very concerning conduct … does not give this court any confidence they will comply with the conditions of custody.” The evidence? That Lou Pelletier once threatened a DFC social worker, who was afterward removed from the case, and oh yes..the media presence.
“Instead of engaging in quality visits with Justina, the parents use profanity directed at MA DCF personnel in Justina’s presence,” Johnston’s ruling said.
Johnston also included that he thinks Lou and Linda Pelletier should be “psychologically and clinically evaluated,” but refused to have the state of Massachusetts do it, insisiting that it must be coordinated through the State of Connecticut’s own DCF.
You bring your daughter in for medical treatment, she gets kidnapped, you see her dying in front of your eyes and you lose it with some heartless bureaucrat drone who’s keeping her prisoner? And when you finally get fed up with doing the dance for months and go to the media to try to shed some sunlight on what’s happening to your child, you need to be “psychologically and clinically evaluated?”
To tell you the truth, if the Pellatiers hadn’t done that, I’d think they needed to be psychologically evaluated.
This is one of those canary in the coalmine moments. It is the State shoving our noses in the fact that they own our children and they know what’s best, and we’re just the sperm and egg donors.
What’s next? On May 25th, Judge Johnston is expected revisit the decision to award permanent custody in a follow-up court hearing on May 25. His ruling leaves it up to the state DCF to decide whether or when Justina should be returned to her family, which means she could end up in state care until she turns 18. If she survives.
Meanwhile, the Pelltiers haven’t given up. They’re appealing the decision and have filed a writ of habeus corpus against Massachusetts for wrongful imprisonment. Hopefully this will get Justina freed by order of the Appellate courts, although it might just be that the attention this is generating could get Justina Pellatier freed sooner..perhaps at the review hearing in May.
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