Family approaches 2nd Easter with ailing daughter Bay State Democrats’ hostage

Family approaches 2nd Easter with ailing daughter Bay State Democrats' hostage
(Courtesy of Liberty Counsel)

Connecticut parents continue to fight Massachusetts Democrats for custody of their teen daughter, who they said was removed unlawfully and whose health is deteriorating under the state’s care.

“My daughter’s condition is getting worse and worse,” said Lou Pelletier, father to Justina Pelletier, the 15-year old competitive skater, who was removed from her parent’s care in February 2013 by Massachusetts Department of Children & Families.

Fourteen months ago, Justina was living a normal life; ice skating, enjoying friends and family and attending private school, said the husband and father of four. “Now she’s paralyzed off her medicine, her legs are swollen and her hair-line is receding.”

Boston Children’s Hospital, a mandated-reporter, filed a “51A report,” which are allegations of detailed neglect or abuse with MA-DCF against Lou and Linda Pelletier – Justina’s parents – alleging the Pelletiers were unfit to care for Justina because they had disagreed with the hospital’s medical diagnosis and course of treatment.

“Children’s ultimately diagnosed her with Somatoform Disorder, a psychological condition, rather than Mitochondrial Disease. Her parents disagreed and intended to discharge her, against doctor’s orders/suggestions and a 51A report was filed by the Hospital,” said MA-DCF in a public statement.

The Pelletiers said they maintain that a medical-diagnosis disagreement between Justina’s former- treating physician at Tufts Medical Center, Dr. Mark S. Korson, who is Chief of Metabolic Service, and on-staff researcher and psychologist Dr. Simona Bujoreau at BCH does not amount to child neglect or abuse and Justina should not have been taken in the first place.

MA-DCF are discussing abuse and medical mistreatment over a disagreement, said Rev. Patrick Mahoney, who is a Presbyterian minister and spokesperson for the family. “It is tragic and troubling to separate Justina from her family and friends for this.”

Justina was being treated for mitochondrial disease successfully for two years under the auspices of Tuft Medical Center, said Mathew D. “Mat” Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel who is representing the Pelletiers. “She was on a vitamin regime which Boston Children’s Hospital and DCF stopped.”

In a recent published report, researchers in Finland and Switzerland have shown that vitamin treatment can slow down the progression of mitochondrial disease.

All along the Pelletiers wanted Justina to continue her medical treatment at Tufts, but it was not until recently that MA-DCF permitted Korson to see Justina once so far and it may not be enough to halt Justina’s deteriorating health, said Mahoney.

“There is much concern that Korson wants to see Justina on a weekly basis, or at least once every two weeks, but MA-DCF are suggesting one visit every six to nine weeks,” he said.

The family is unaware whether Justina has resumed vitamin treatment for mitochondrial disease since the parents cannot get first-hand information about their daughter from her doctors, he said. “The Pelletiers receive no medical information and Korson cannot give them any information about Justina.”

In addition, Mahoney said Justina, who was on an Individual Education Plan in Connecticut for a learning disability, has not been given the same education benefits in Massachusetts and although Justina has indicated she would consent to religious instruction, MA-DCF has provided her with little, if any, religious freedom. “Not only is she being separated from her family and friends and the lifestyle she knew, we have a real crushing of her civil rights regarding her religious freedoms and her educational needs.”

These are serious federal violations, he said. “We are meeting with federal legislators to address the broader questions of what freedom of decisions parents and children have of religious rights and education when the government comes-in an usurps their rights.”

MA-DCF claims that Connecticut officials have supported allegations of neglect against the family prior to DCF involvement.  

Massachusetts Gov. Deval L. Patrick also made public statements to assert that there is a detailed history of abuse surrounding the Pelletiers.

“Justina has been in DCF custody since February 2013, when a judge ruled that her parents were unfit to care for her… based on a detailed record of a history of neglect in the home,” said Patrick in a letter to state legislators on April 1.

Mahoney, who questioned the veracity of this statement, said it is revisionist history. “Connecticut DCF has never been to the Pelletier home.  If there were cases of neglect before 2013 in a repeated pattern, why didn’t CT-DCF move on this before?”

When DCF took custody of Justina it was based on alleged medical abuse, he said.

CT-DCF Commissioner Joette Katz said in a statement that contrary to the court’s March order, DCF has been sufficiently involved in discussions over the transfer of Justina into the Connecticut system, but permission from the Pelletier family to conduct an evaluation was not received until March 10.

“These evaluations are the first step the agency must take to determine what is required to adequately care for and protect the safety of a child,” the statement said.

There is no indication or report made public from CT-DCF that accuses or confirms allegations of abuse and neglect on behalf of the parents, said Mahoney who is a Presbyterian minister.

The Pelletier’s have proposed to both state agencies conditional custody to the parents if Justina is transferred into the Connecticut system, he said. 

“Our position is clear, if Justina is brought back to Connecticut she needs to be brought back to the Pelletier home for a time period DCF could determine in which they could supervise, provide weekly visits or twice a week visits in the home.”

Despite claims made by MA-DCF to the contrary, currently there is no plan in place to get Justina home to her parents, said Mahoney. 

“Our feeling is the best way to resolve this is to return Justina home into the loving arms of her family, and DCF could have an advisory role and make visits to the home to determine that all her needs are being met.” 

To date these proposals have been rejected by state officials, he said. 

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  • Dustoff

    Welcome to O-dumber care folks

  • reddarin

    “also made public statements to assert that there is a detailed history of abuse surrounding the Pelletiers.”

    Uh huh. Was the detailed history in someone’s trunk until last week when it magically appeared? If abuse is the reason for the abduction then what was the reason for stopping the original treatment? If there is a detailed history of abuse then why didn’t the judge mention it in his decision to be a party to the abduction?

  • Buypass

    Sounds like State blessed “legal” kidnapping to me.

  • 1tomritter1

    Sue those responsible. There can be no immunity conferred by the state that trumps the law (nor the feds unless there is something in the Constitution.) .

  • Borghesius

    MA-DCF and Boston’s Children’s Hospital screwed up and can’t admit it or they would be in a world of litigation hurt. But, if this continues as it is and she continues to deteriorate, they are in a universe of litigation hurt.

    At this point, cutting your losses and doing the right thing are the same thing. MA-DCF: we already know you are fascist losers, you can’t hide it anyway, give it up.

    By the way, “Somataform” is traditionally medical for “hysterical female disorder” otherwise known as “we don’t understand it so it must be all in your head”. War on women and girls. Even if it was the case, why not release her to Tuft’s, use the vitamin treatments as placebo under the care a physician she trusts? Boston’s Children’s has screwed a whole litter of pooches on this.

  • Julie Bodenheimer Miller

    Pictures and videos of this solidly united family – and Justina’s supportive sisters and friends – don’t lie. Governors and courts – on the other hand . . .


    Just wow…..this government at all levels is so out of control it makes me want to scream.

  • Wxcynic

    Classic. The parents have all the responsibility but no authority, and the state has all the authority but no responsibility.

  • rshawk

    Lou, Linda, and Justina are caught. 14 mos. ago Lou wouldn’t sign on the dotted line under hostage circumstances and he won’t sign now. Why? Because he would be stuck with monitored BCH/Mass DCF treatment plan which would restrict medical treatment for Mito and keep it a psych issue. His attempt at working out an acceptable compromise in which Justina could be returned under the supervision of Conn DCF and not sent to non-medical foster care were squashed.

  • John

    Everyone in CT should be calling their representatives to exert pressure. I continue to read about this story and see nothing at it’s core but a disagreement in diagnosis between two Boston medical hospitals.

  • Benedictine

    Even if it were so, that the child were being abused, I still don’t see how Massachusetts could get custody of a Connecticut resident. This is just so bizarre.

  • JJ

    EXACTLY, Why hasn’t Malloy deployed a National guard unit and recovered the prisoner. Not only is it the right thing to do but, would be a huger boost to his re-election effort.

  • JJ

    Why the He$$ hasn’t Malloy deployed a National guard unit and recovered the
    prisoner. Not only is it the right thing to do but, would be a huger
    boost to his re-election effort.

  • colleen10001

    BCH, MA-DCF tried to say problem in that parents disagreed with BCH and wanted child back with original Dr. that had been treating her, certainly nothing wrong with that. Actually great parenting. (She only went by BCH because of a concerning time with flu and was set to see a specific Dr. -not anyone she saw). Prayers that Justina is home ASAP with parents and extended family. siblings, grandparents plus… Prayers for Justina and each member of her family.

  • colleen10001

    Exactly. That is the whole thing. so horrible .