CONFIRMED BY ILL. SUPREME COURT– YOU ARE VIEWING THE MOST DANGEROUS BLOG IN ILLINOIS. This blog warranted a 3 year suspension by the ARDC/Jerome Larkin! Mottos: "Sunlight is the best disinfectant". Justice Louis Brandeis ; "If the truth can destroy something, then it deserves to be destroyed" Carl Sagan; "Justice is Truth in Action" Benjamin Disraeli. Illinois uses the ARDC to quash dissenting attorney activist blogs ; "The freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic Governments" — (1776-First Amendment preamble adopted by 8 US colonies)
At least 86 children died in a 10-year period while in the custody of a giant for-profit foster care company, according to an investigation by the US Senate Committee on Finance. In only 13 of those deaths did the company, The Mentor Network, conduct an internal investigation, the committee found.
The Senate probe started in part because of a series by BuzzFeed News that profiled problems at the company, which was the largest for-profit foster care provider in the country. In one case a 2-year-old girl who was placed at a home run by Mentor was murdered by her foster mother. In another case, a series of boys were sexually abused by a Mentor foster father, whom Mentor paid as a foster parent for years despite a series of red flags. He had requested that he be sent boys who were “male, white, any age.”
Though Mentor denied the claim, employees told BuzzFeed News that the pursuit of profits sometimes took priority over child welfare. (The company is owned by Civitas Solutions, Inc., which recorded $1.4 billion in revenue last year and trades on the New York Stock Exchange.) As BuzzFeed News reported in 2015, profit margins in the business can be very high. For Mentor, BuzzFeed News reported, earnings before taxes and amortizations could be as high as 44%.
As a result of the committee’s investigation, the chairman, Orrin Hatch, and its ranking member, Ron Wyden, introduced legislation Monday to require states to disclose the contractors they use in privatized foster care, and to report to the federal government how those contractors perform.
In privatized foster care, states or local governments outsource child welfare duties to companies or nonprofit organizations. Those entities then hire the caseworkers, recruit, screen, and train foster parents, and place children with them.
The Senate, for its extensive probe, surveyed all 50 states, but the results, the report discloses, were too inconsistent to be useful in comparing foster care providers. Seventeen states didn’t even respond. “Some States collect information, perform reviews, and maintain data in paper files that are never entered into an electronic database or that are never synthesized into a single report or review,” the committee noted.
The Senate committee saved some of its harshest language to condemn a report that Mentor submitted in which the company claimed its fatality rate was not high. Mentor said that its death rates “are comparable with national norms.’’
Mentor reported a total of 86 deaths between fiscal years 2005 and 2014. Of those deaths, 23 had been categorized as “expected” by the company, presumably meaning that the child was suffering from a grave illness, while 62 were “unexpected.” (In one case, the company didn’t provide that information.)
In an email to BuzzFeed News, Mentor said that it had just provided the Senate with updated figures indicating that 94 children died over a longer period, fiscal years 2005–2017. The company said that 56 “had medically complex conditions and/or a diagnosis (es) that would cause premature death.” The company said other deaths were out of its control.
Mentor also said that although the Senate reported that there were only 13 internal investigations of child deaths at the company, “This number does not represent the actual number of investigations.”
Aram Roston is an investigative reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. His secure PGP fingerprint is D861 374F D725 4F61 39C0 08F1 4575 134B 09D9 B28D
Drug possession, domestic violence, repeatedly driving drunk, assault with a deadly weapon – any one of these charges or convictions could lead child protective services workers to remove children from a home or force a parent into counseling.
But all of those crimes and many others appear in the backgrounds of employees of Sacramento County’s Child Protective Services, a Bee investigation has found.
A review of the agency’s 969 workers employed as of Oct. 1 found that at least 68 individuals – 7 percent of the work force – have criminal records in Sacramento County alone. The number is likely to be even higher because some names were too common to retrieve all criminal complaints linked to them, and records in other counties were not searched.
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Although the county child protection agency has a policy to perform criminal background checks on prospective employees – and says it is alerted by the state if a current employee is arrested – the ranks at CPS include offenders convicted of such crimes as possession of heroin for sale, theft, embezzlement, spousal abuse, obstructing an officer, prostitution and identity theft.
One county worker who was a receptionist at two CPS offices is a registered sex offender. One social worker has a pending court case over claims that she harassed her neighbors with laser beams and obscene tirades. A family service worker was charged in August with stealing gas from a county pump.
CPS Director Laura Coulthard and her boss at the county, Lynn Frank, declined to be interviewed. But The Bee’s examination prompted Coulthard to issue two memos to agency employees in the past month, warning that their names and criminal histories might be published.
Neither she nor other top county officials would discuss their policies for deciding what kind of criminal background would preclude someone from being hired or when and why exceptions are made.
CPS workers are entrusted with Sacramento’s most vulnerable residents: abused and neglected children, living in broken families. These workers are charged with passing judgment on parents’ fitness. They testify under oath, serving as the eyes and ears of the juvenile court system.
“Just because they don’t carry a gun doesn’t mean they don’t exercise extraordinary power over children and families,” said William Grimm, an attorney at the Oakland-based National Center for Youth Law. “Forcing them to adhere to the highest level of conduct seems legitimate to me.”
Some Sacramento CPS employees’ arrests date back years, while others are current. Some committed serious crimes while working for the agency but remained on the job for months and even years – sometimes on paid leave.
Among The Bee’s findings:
Six CPS family service workers who go into people’s homes to help families have been convicted or face charges of drug possession, theft, embezzlement or possession of heroin for sale.
Many of the convictions are for driving under the influence and reckless driving, including 15 workers who have close contact with children and families. Some of their jobs require them to transport children to safe locations, often in the middle of the night. Three CPS social workers have multiple DUI convictions, including one arrested three times between 1999 and 2005.
At least 17 CPS office assistants who handle sensitive case files have faced some of the most serious charges, including spousal abuse, illegal weapons possession, witness tampering, failure to provide for a child, identity theft, grand theft, embezzlement of county resources, welfare fraud, injury to a spouse and obstructing an officer.
Repeated arrests – even for violence – do not appear to be an automatic impediment to CPS employment. One office worker employed since 2001 faces spousal abuse charges in a pending case and has previous arrests for DUI, gambling, spousal abuse and witness tampering, court documents state. A police report taken in that worker’s 1993 spousal abuse case states that “he admitted association with the Sacramento Blood Brothers, which is a violent gang.”
One worker, who prepares legal documents for children and families in crisis, faced charges between 1994 and 2000 that included two DUIs, assault with a deadly weapon, spousal abuse, theft and check fraud. She was hired in 2000, the same year she faced felony charges of forgery, fraud and methamphetamine possession.
Criminal background checks for public and private employees are increasingly common, raising questions of fairness, privacy and the notion of rehabilitation.
And hundreds of CPS workers stay clean and do their jobs well, propping up fragile families and venturing into the toughest neighborhoods.
But one prominent child advocate believes the arrest histories uncovered by The Bee suggest deeply systemic problems.
“My sense is that this is the result of a leadership vacuum at CPS and a failure to demand accountability among the workers,” said Robert Wilson, executive director of Sacramento Child Advocates, whose attorneys represent children in dependency court.
One 36-year-old Sacramento mother, whose two children were removed from her care by CPS, said she is outraged that some agency workers have criminal pasts – yet may be in a position to testify against parents like her.
“I’m very angry,” said Desiree McCarthy, whose 6- and 14-year-old kids were taken amid allegations of drug use. McCarthy denies abusing illegal drugs but said she has struggled with prescription painkillers, and the aftereffects of head surgery.
“I think this is a disgrace – an outrage,” she said. “The bottom line is, they’re hypocrites.”
The Bee’s study of workers’ criminal histories stems from its ongoing investigation of problems at CPS, which began 18 months ago and has sparked a county grand jury investigation and an independent, county-ordered audit.
While investigating the death of a 3-year-old girl who died after being under CPS’ watch, The Bee found that the social worker in the case had problems of her own.
That social worker, Alexis Hince, said she believes her brushes with the law were an asset to the agency, helping her relate better to clients.
“I related to my clients in such a way that it is more than book knowledge or resource-related,” she said.
Hince was assigned to what became one of the agency’s most controversial cases last year, in which 3-year-old Valeeya Brazile was beaten to death after her CPS case was closed.
Valeeya’s mother and her mother’s boyfriend face charges in the death of the girl, who suffered a series of suspicious injuries before the fatal beating. Court records obtained by The Bee indicate Hince failed to report those injuries to the court or to the girl’s court-appointed attorney.
A review of Superior Court files shows Hince’s problems began before she was hired by the agency – and continued.
She was charged in 2000 with failing to report all her income and receiving overpayments of $7,509 in food stamps and welfare. She pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor and received probation, court records show.
CPS hired Hince in January 2005. A year later, she again was charged with welfare fraud stemming from payments received in 2002 and 2003. She pleaded no contest to two misdemeanors and was ordered to repay $6,368.
In that case, Hince was accused of taking money from Child Action, a program that administers child care subsidies to needy families – and is often recommended by CPS to its struggling families.
In January, a Sacramento judge dismissed the cases.
Hince, 35, said she was never asked about the 2000 case when she was hired and that she didn’t have to disclose it because it did not involve a felony conviction.
“The reality is, the department does background checks,” she said, “they were aware of my background and I would even go as far as saying my ability to be able to relate to the clients we serve is very important.”
Hince said she was never disciplined for her work at CPS, but added that she has been on paid leave since Oct. 2, the day a Bee story about her handling of Valeeya’s case appeared. She said she never was told why she was placed on leave, and that her superiors had told her not to talk to The Bee.
“If it’s your desire to create change, social workers are not the problem,” Hince said. “Your targets should be upper management, the courts, the Board of Supervisors.”
LINKED TO PRISON DRUGS
Hince was not the only social worker charged with a crime while employed by the agency.
Deanna Bennett was celebrating her 28th birthday when she drove onto the grounds of Folsom State Prison in April 2006 at about 6 p.m.
An associate warden watching her red BMW saw a plastic grocery bag tossed from the window and later discovered it contained 4 grams of methamphetamine, 30 grams of marijuana, two bags of tobacco and numerous lighters and rolling papers, court documents state.
Prison officials set up a stakeout and watched as two inmates mowing grass scooped up the contraband.
Bennett initially told investigators she ended up at the prison because she got lost after shopping at the Folsom Premium Outlets. She said she didn’t know anything about the package, court records say.
Investigators later identified Bennett’s passenger as a woman on felony probation for taking narcotics into the Mule Creek State Prison in Amador County. She was married to a Folsom prison inmate and told authorities she had prepared the package for delivery to him.
Bennett was charged with two felonies. In an interview, she denied knowing that her friend planned to throw the contraband onto the prison grounds, but she acknowledged that she pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor in 2007 and got three years of probation.
The social worker remained on the job for more than two years after the incident and, in the midst of management efforts to discipline or fire her, she was commended in writing at least twice for her work.
A Nov. 9, 2007, letter from Director Coulthard congratulated Bennett for “the tremendous contribution you make to children and families every day.”
Bennett said she was placed on paid leave last April. County documents cited “poor judgment” and “dishonesty” that show “you cannot be trusted to make decisions or provide credible sworn testimony on behalf of Sacramento County.”
She resigned last August but she said she thought it was unfair that she lost her job.
“I personally know other people in my department who have misdemeanor convictions, so I really didn’t think they could dismiss me for that,” she said. “I know people who had gang affiliations who were working there.”
ON THE JOB AFTER HARASSMENT
Another CPS social worker remains on the job after being convicted in El Dorado County for violating court orders that she stay away from neighbors she had allegedly harassed since 1999 with tirades, laser beams and other abuse.
Cynthia Lee Quinn was accused of harassing one family by “constantly flipping they and their friends off, repeatedly making obscene telephone calls, training a laser pointer or sight from a gun onto victims, videotaping victims, shining lights into the interior of the (victim’s) residence” and videotaping them, according to El Dorado Superior Court documents.
Her actions, which allegedly included repeatedly placing nails in one family’s driveway, continued despite restraining orders issued by the court, the documents indicate.
Sacramento CPS eventually found itself involved with the El Dorado County case. One family that moved to escape the harassment reported that six months later, Sacramento CPS workers came to their new home investigating an anonymous report that they “were beating their young daughter in the front yard,” court documents state.
“It should be noted that Defendant QUINN was at that time and is still, employed by the agency as a Family Maintenance Social Worker,” the records state.
Prosecutor Gloria Mas said she believes that Quinn, 49, was responsible for the call to CPS, adding that the social worker had sent angry letters to people using a Sacramento CPS fax machine. Quinn received probation in the original case, but Mas said she filed a petition in court Feb. 27 to revoke it.
Quinn, who could not be reached for comment, contended in court documents that she was the victim of harassment by neighbors who shouted at her and annoyed animals living on her property. She claimed that sheriff’s deputies were “rude and belligerent.”
HISTORIES ALARM COLLEAGUES
Some criminal histories uncovered in The Bee’s review of hundreds of court files are years old. Most of the older misdemeanors have been purged from county files, while other records show that defendants later returned to court, proved to a judge they had been rehabilitated and had the original charges dismissed.
Even after such dismissals, legal experts say applicants for public jobs or licensure by a state or local agency must reveal past convictions, if asked.
Within the agency, some workers expressed alarm about their co-workers’ pasts – and, in one instance, a 23-year-old case expunged in 1997 generated concern.
Until early this year, families arriving at Sacramento’s Child Protective Services office on Power Inn Road were greeted in the waiting area by receptionist Sandra Diane Queen, who is registered on the state’s Megan’s Law Web site as a sex offender with a conviction for lewd and lascivious behavior with a child under 14.
The roomy waiting area often is packed with children, playing on colorful wooden-bead tables while families await classes or meetings.
A CPS employee, who contacted The Bee in January after learning of Queen’s background, said her listing on the Megan’s Law site became known around the office last year and was particularly upsetting to social workers.
The county’s solution was to move Queen to the front reception desk in the administrative offices on East Parkway, which house Coulthard and Lynn Frank, director of the county Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees CPS.
In her new location, the 52-year-old county worker assigned to CPS continued to be among the first people members of the public met.
Court records show that Queen, then known as Sandra Diane Williams, pleaded guilty in Sacramento Superior Court on Sept. 16, 1986, to a felony count involving sexual acts with a child and was sentenced to a year in jail and four years of probation.
She petitioned the court in 1995 to declare the offense a misdemeanor to help her find work and to acknowledge that she had been rehabilitated.
Friends, co-workers and fellow church members wrote letters testifying to her good character, while the District Attorney’s Office and probation department opposed the move.
The court approved her motion in June 1997, records indicate. However, she still must register with law enforcement as a convicted sex offender.
Queen, who declined to comment, does not face restrictions on where she can live or on contact with minors.
A CPS spokeswoman acknowledged Queen’s employment with the county since December 2007 but pointed out that she is an assistant for the Office of the Director and technically not a CPS employee.
CRIMINAL CHECKS NOT UNIFORM
Office assistants at CPS are on the county’s list of positions subject to criminal history checks. That list includes other obvious positions, such as family service workers and social workers who have daily contact with children.
But the county’s policy allows each department discretion in deciding whether a conviction “will affect the applicant’s or employee’s qualification for the position” – or whether it can “be disregarded on the basis of mitigating circumstances.”
Before coming to CPS, office assistant Brian Matthew Foster, 40, worked with a company that contracts with the county to run community service programs for defendants.
Court documents allege that while in that job, Foster took cash payments from defendants, entered a lower amount in the books, then pocketed the difference.
He also offered to complete documents showing defendants had completed community service hours – even if they had not – in exchange for payments, the documents allege.
An investigator’s statement filed in court says more than $38,000 was lost in the scam, which ended when Foster called in sick and his replacement discovered the alleged ruse.
Hired at CPS in July 2000 while his case was being investigated, Foster ultimately pleaded no contest to a felony count in 2002 and was sentenced to 120 days in jail.
Contacted by The Bee, Foster denied the allegations and blamed clerical errors rather than criminal intent.
“It was more like it was an error in putting the paperwork in the wrong place,” he said.
Foster was ordered to pay more than $18,000 in restitution, documents state. He said he repaid the money and has had no other legal problems.
In 2005, a Sacramento judge agreed Foster had fulfilled the requirements of his sentence and dismissed the case.
Foster said one CPS supervisor indicated the agency was aware of his case, but nothing else was discussed about it.
In placing Foster on informal probation on Dec. 19, 2002, the judge ordered him to obey laws and “see and/or maintain regular and steady employment.”
US opens new mass facility in Texas for migrant children
By GARANCE BURKEJune 7, 2019
FILE – This May 29, 2019 file photo released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shows some of 1,036 migrants who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas, the largest that the Border Patrol says it has ever encountered. The federal government is opening a new mass shelter for migrant children near the U.S-Mexico border and is considering housing children on three military bases to add 3,000 more beds to the overtaxed system in the coming weeks. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection via AP, File)
The federal government is opening a new mass facility to hold migrant children in Texas and considering detaining hundreds more youths on three military bases around the country, adding up to 3,000 new beds to the already overtaxed system.
The new emergency facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, will hold as many as 1,600 teens in a complex that once housed oil field workers on government-leased land near the border, said Mark Weber, a spokesman for Office of Refugee Resettlement.
The agency is also weighing using Army and Air Force bases in Georgia, Montana and Oklahoma to house an additional 1,400 kids in the coming weeks, amid the influx of children traveling to the U.S. alone. Most of the children crossed the border without their parents, escaping violence and corruption in Central America, and are held in government custody while authorities determine if they can be released to relatives or family friends.
All the new facilities will be considered temporary emergency shelters, so they won’t be subject to state child welfare licensing requirements, Weber said. In January, the government shut down an unlicensed detention camp in the Texas desert under political pressure, and another unlicensed facility called Homestead remains in operation in the Miami suburbs.
“It is our legal requirement to take care of these children so that they are not in Border Patrol facilities,” Weber said. “They will have the services that ORR always provides, which is food, shelter and water.”
Under fire for the death of two children who went through the agency’s network of shelters and facing lawsuits over the treatment of teens in its care, the agency says it must set up new facilities to accommodate new arrivals or risk running out of beds.
The announcement of the program’s expansion follows the government’s decision to scale back or cut paying for recreation, English-language courses and legal services for the more than 13,200 migrant toddlers, school-age children and teens in its custody.
The Health and Human Services department, which oversees the refugee office, notified shelters around the country last week that it was not going to reimburse them for teachers’ pay, legal services or recreational equipment, saying budget cuts were needed as record numbers of unaccompanied children arrive at the border, largely from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. In May, border agents apprehended 11,507 children traveling alone.
Attorneys said the move violates a legal settlement known as the Flores agreement that requires the government to provide education and recreational activities to migrant children in its care. Last week, attorneys filed a motion claiming that the government also was violating the decades-old settlement by keeping kids at Homestead for months in some cases, instead of releasing them within 20 days.
“If they are going to open the program up in these numbers and they can’t even manage the influx facility that they have in a humane way, then compounding that is going to be disastrous,” said Holly Cooper, an attorney at the Immigration Law Clinic at University of California, Davis who represents detained youth.
Advocates have slammed the move as punitive, saying such services are typically available to adult prisoners.
“ORR’s cancelling of these services will inflict further harm on children, many of whom continue to languish for months without being placed safely and expeditiously into a sponsor’s care. That is not only unacceptable, it could be in violation of the law,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat who chairs the House Appropriations subcommittee with oversight on the agency’s budget.
In a win for right-to-know advocates, the public and journalists, the state Freedom of Information Commission has ruled the state police broke open record laws when the agency denied a request by the Republican-American newspaper in Waterbury for dash and body camera footage of a high-speed chase and then refused to acknowledge for a time that the records existed.
And in what appears to be an unprecedented move that drives home the significance of the ruling, the commission ordered the state police to receive mandatory re-training on responding to requests for public information and meeting its obligation of transparency.
“We’re pleased the training was ordered,” Anne Karolyi, the newspaper’s managing editor, said Friday. “The commission has noted that there does seem to be a systemic failure by the state police to recognize that the public’s right to know is not an option.”
Journalists and members of the public seeking information from the state police have long encountered resistance. The Courant pressed for additional records on Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza for five years before the Connecticut Supreme Court ordered the release of thousands of pages of withheld documents last year.
Veteran Republican-American reporter Jonathan Shugarts, who initiated and pursued the complaint with the newspaper’s backing, reported the commission cited the state police on at least 29 occasions since 2010 for violating the “prompt release” provision of the FOI law. There were 60 FOI complaints lodged against the state police in 2019, he reported.
“It has been a frustrating few months dealing with this complaint, but all of it was necessary, and worth it, in order to obtain records on behalf of residents of the state,” Shugarts said. “I hope that state police personnel who are responsible for handling FOI requests take their retraining seriously and provide records promptly to the public in the future.”
State police officials had not seen the commission’s ruling as of Friday afternoon, but they are familiar with hearing officer Matthew Reed’s findings last month that formed the basis of the full panel’s decision.
“I’m certain we will embrace the recommendations,” said Brian Foley, an aide to state public safety Commissioner James Rovella, whose agency includes the state police. “Since the commissioner came here last year, we’ve been trying to improve transparency. This ruling should actually help us in that effort.”
The genesis of this case, Karolyi said, was reporting Shugarts did in the spring of 2019, in which he requested dash and body camera video from several area police departments, including the state police.
“It really was a test, a spot check on how the departments were responding to FOI requests,” she said.
Some of the departments responded right away and it was also revealed that one of the agencies hadn’t bought the body cameras it said it was going to buy. The state police acknowledged receiving the request — but did nothing more.
Reed, the hearing officer and a former South Windsor police chief, found that the state police erred when the agency said only a news release, not the requested records, were releasable. Reed noted the agency failed even to prepare the promised news release.
He found the department provided the Republican-American and Shugarts with “an incorrect summary” of the FOI law, and that records of arrest, despite the agency’s claim otherwise, are public form the time of arrest “and shall be disclosed.”
Reed noted that state police asked the prosecutor handling the criminal case related to the chase if the requested video files should be withheld “in light of the pending case.”
The prosecutor, Catherine Austin, said there was no objection to releasing the records.
Still, Reed noted, the state police refused to release the material. And Reed noted that, in any case, asking a prosecutor for permission “is not an action sanctioned by the FOI statute.”
Eventually, the state police released the video files, but Reed found that “a promptness request cannot be rendered moot through the act of providing public records at a later time.”
Karolyi said she hopes Rovella’s expression of respect for the FOI provisions “trickles down through the rest of the department.”
“This was a friendly reminder about the responsibility for those in state government to be transparent,” she said.
Josh Kovner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Numerous Illinois trusts and Estates, guardianship and decedent’s estates, are currently holding millions and millions in stock based investments.
What is the duty of the attorneys to warn, the court to warn, the judges to warn, beneficiaries to file motions to get those assets currently out of stock market based assets.
In 2008,I personally watched many clients when their Pension and 401K’s and other stock based assets plummet 50% or more when the US stock market dived and they had their funds in stock market based assets.
The federal deficit has blossomed into $22 million with tax cuts to the wealthy and fake tax cuts to the middle class and poor which people are now feeling. The corona virus is expected to infect our food chain and limit food supply and affect exponentially food prices. A bottom line.
The US stock market will follow these trends. The US govt is doing nothing about this or ignoring it.
The elder Ms. Bush resides in a care center where the Plaintiff Daughter says she is only allowed one paid visit per month for one hour.
“This legal form of kidnapping is happening in communities across the country, in many cases with little or no recourse available.”
Ms. Bush has appealed Judge Savage’s decision to dismiss and the case is currently pending before the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.
A federal judge in Pennsylvania has denied a forlorn daughter’s pleas for the release of her aging parent from court appointed guardianship. In filing a petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Mary Bush was seeking redress for the right of communication and association with her 89-year old mother Genevieve Bush.
The elder Ms. Bush resides in a care center where the Plaintiff Daughter says she is only allowed one paid visit per month for one hour, which is court ordered to be monitored by a Sheriff and an Adult Protective Services (APS) supervisor.
“The petitioner [Mary Bush] seeks to end her harassment and terminate her mother’s guardianship arrangement,” wrote U.S. District Judge Timothy Savage in his Nov. 18 Memorandum. “Because the petitioner [Mary Bush] is not in custody, she is not entitled to habeas relief. The petitioner, as a non-attorney, cannot proceed with this action on behalf of Genevieve.”
A Writ of Habeas Corpus is typically reserved for prisoners incarcerated in a penitentiary but in her Oct. 15 Motion for Reconsideration of the federal judge’s dismissal, the Plaintiff Daughter Ms. Bush stated that the goal of her petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus is not just for the release of her mother but to ensure due process under the US Constitution.
“Petitioner Mary Bush filed as next friend on behalf of her mother Genevieve, clearly telling this court that her mother is isolated and has no means to communicate out of her incarcerated situation,” she said.
Ms. Bush’s federal complaint is one of many filed by adult children under various causes of action across the country that are highlighting the emerging downsides of adult guardianship programs, which are designed to help the elderly and people with disabilities to manage their lives. Instead, these programs have been plagued with allegations of neglect, abuse, starvation, over medication, wrongful isolation and financial exploitation.
In response to the increased number of adult children who are crying for federal authorities to intervene, members of Congress introduced HR 4174 on August 7, which is currently pending before the House Committee on the Judiciary.
If enacted, HR 4174 would activate protections against elder abuse, exploitation and neglect under court appointed guardianship.
“This legal form of kidnapping is happening in communities across the country, in many cases with little or no recourse available, and recently in Florida directly resulting in a death,” said Florida Congressman Charlie Crist in a joint statement.
In most American states, it is not uncommon for the elderly and people with disabilities to lose their individual rights around residence, visitation, choice of meals, health insurance, marital status, medical care, assets and property once they become a ward of the State under a guardianship ordered by a state or county Judge.
The plaintiff daughter in this case named Chester County Court of Common Pleas Judge Katherine B.L. Platt as a defendant, alleging that her mother has been allowed to suffer neglect, abuse, improper medical care and treatment.
“Defendant Judge Katherine B.L. Platt cannot provide any legitimate reasons or grounds for the restraint and detention of Genevieve Bush and Mary Bush,” wrote the Plaintiff Daughter in her petition. “This writ thus stands as a safeguard against ongoing imprisonment, loss of rights and liberties of both mother and daughter being targeted in violation of the law and guaranteed rights.”
When asked for comment, Stacy Witalec, spokesperson for Pennsylvania courts and judges, said that no information can be provided.
“Defendant [Judge Platt] has been maliciously inciting public hatred towards petitioner that has resulted in physical attacks, injury, further identity thefts, financial destitution and continued irreparable harm,” stated Ms. Bush in her brief. “Petitioner can prove that she and her mother have been intentionally targeted by defendant, Judge Katherine B.L. Platt, for cash and property.”
However, the Honorable federal judge Savage ruled that even legal or factual error, personal malice or the performance of an act in excess of jurisdiction will not remove the cloak of the Honorable Judge Platt’s judicial immunity.
“The Defendant [Judge Platt] is protected by judicial immunity,” Judge Savage wrote. “Only when a judge performs a non-judicial act or acts in a “clear absence of all jurisdiction” is the protection of judicial immunity lost.”
Ms. Bush has appealed Judge Savage’s decision to dismiss and the case is currently pending before the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.
“Convicted felons have more rights, freedoms and protections,” she said. “Mary and Genevieve Bush have committed no crimes.”
On November 12, 2019, Miriam Solo (aka Soloveichik/Grienfield/Faskowitz) filed a Petition for Authority to disburse funds from the Estate of Ralla Klepak to various charities:
a. Victory Gardens Theater for $100,000
b. Steppenwolf Theater for $100,000
c. Northlight Theater for $100,000
d. WFMT for $50,000,
e. John Marshall Law School for $250,000, etc.
You get the point. The petition was supposed to be presented on January 8, 2020. It was filed with a proposed order.
However the day before, on January 7, 2020, the Illinois state ATG filed an appearance in the matter, Kawme Raoul and Pasquale Esposito.
After a file check, it appears most of the file is missing, including any order from January 8, 2020. In addition, it appears that the January 8, 2020 order never issued. The Probate Clerk’s offices are investigating and looking for the order, if it was in fact issued.
No inventory has been filed in the case, but as the estate is an “unsupervised” type, no inventory is required to be filed.
I will inquire further of the state ATG and see if I can get them to provide any information on the distribution of such large amounts of cash to various charities.
Probate case No. 06 P 482, Circuit Court Cook County, Daley Center In re Alice Gore, a disabled adult, age 95 Judge: Kowamoto GAL: Miriam Solo (aka Soloveichik, Greenfield, Fisk) Atty for Bev Cooper, daughter and prior guardian: Karen Bowes, Rinella and Rinella
Our story begins in April 2007. Mother Alice Gore is subsisting in an abusive nursing home chosen by the Cook County Guardianship court with the approval of numerous attorneys, including Miriam Solo and other courtroom vendors, including Benjamin Topp, MSW from Rehab Assist. None of these persons, during this story, appeared to report the egregious abuse to anyone, nor did they seem concerned at all that 95 year old Alice Gore was placed in a nursing home with inadequate crappy food, had no bed linens and was sleeping directly on a plastic mattress, had constant bed sores, and was often found dirty and smelly. The room she was in often had a pervasive foul odor of urine.
On April 3, 2007 Bev Cooper sent an email to her attorney Karen Bowes asking her to get a detailed invoice of the $6,000 per month from Lakeview Nurwing home for her mother’s care.
She notes that the food is insufficient in the amount and nourishment and the “caloric value is zero”. P. 1 This is of crucial concern because her mother, Alice Gore has lost some 48 lbs recently and she should be on a high calorie, highly nutritious diet.
At the time, Alice Gore is 95.
Mrs. Cooper further complains that the court has put in place her mentally ill daughter, Kimberly Cooper who has been in and out of mental facilities all her life and struggles with mental illness. She notes that Kimberly Cooper has had 54 placements over the years in metal health facilities.
She also notes that Alice Cooper has “failure to thrive” and was diagnosed with pneumonia. P.1
P. 2. Mrs. Cooper is concerned that the deliberate weight loss is so the nursing home may perform an unnecessary procedure and insert a feeding tube. Mother eats slowly and Bev Cooper has been faithfully chopping and feeding her mother which is a task the nursing home does not want to be bothered with.
P. 2, § 2, Bev Cooper is concerned that mother’s pinky finger is broken, black and infected.
At the top of page 2, she notes her mother has a bed sore on her back. Bed sores in nursing homes are considered malpractice and negligence per se.
Mrs. Cooper notes she saw a “gentleman in a wheelchair” who was left in place for six hours, two hours before she came, and four hours while she was there.
Page 3, Mrs. Cooper complains to her attorney Karen Bowes of Rinella and Rinella that her mother is not being fed properly and has been diagnosed with “failure to thrive”
She further complains that her mother is not being hydrated and does not have access to water or a water pitcher.
She complains that her mother (who has recently lost 48 lbs) is grossly underweight. Mother has no bed linens but sleeps on a plastic sheet. Mrs. Cooper notes this is a classic case of “elder abuse”. Page 4.
On April 15, 2007, Bev Cooper complains the temperture in her mother’s room was 85 degrees and an overwhelming smell of stale urine in the room. Again, there is no sheet on her bed and Mother is sleeping on a plastic mattress cover. Page 4.
She complains that her mother is dangerously underweight, but gets low calorie and low fat and low protein meals.
Page 4A, Attorney Miriam Solo (aka Soloveichik/Greenfield/Faskowitz) threatened to file complaints against any attorney that tried to help my mother, gave guardianship and power of attorney for health care to my daughter Kimberly who has a long documented history of mental illness and has been psych hospitalized many times, threatened to put a feeding tube in Mother in retaliation for my complaints which would prevent her from ever eating again, threatened me and my lawyer, the judge will never listen to my complaints of egregious elder abuse my mother has suffered. Page 4A.
Bev Cooper complains her mother is constantly hungry, thirsty, filthy, smelly, ulcerated and underweight–in the nursing home which Solo arranged for Alice Gore which is far from daughter Bev Cooper’s home in Highland Park. The nursing home is on Diversey Parkway in Chicago. Page 4A.
On April 22, 2007, Bev Cooper complains to her attorney regarding the threats of inserting a feeding tube against Mother’s wishes and consent, that it would be a dangerous and ill advised procedure in light of her “distended bowel”. Page 5.
On page 6, the issue of bed sores or pressure sores continues. These are per se malpractice for any nursing home, yet Miriam Solo insists that Mother Alice Gore be kept in this nursing home.
Although the nursing home is being paid $6,000 to care for Alice Gore, instead of moving her to a competent nursing home near daughter Bev Cooper, the attorneys recommend a private duty nurse (paid for by the Estate) to come every day to care for Alice Gore. Page 6. This drives up the cost to care for Alice Gore by thousands per month–money that is given to preferred court room vendors
Page 7, regarding the nursing home chosen by Miriam Solo, Bev Cooper responds “I would not keep my dog in [this nursing home]”.
Page 8, things improve at the nursing home, but Mother still is not provided with a linen sheet on her bed and she continues to sleep directly on a plastic mattress covering.
Page 8, a CNA explains the improvements were due to the fact the state was coming to inspect the nursing home, but the CNA warned after the inspection, things would go back to normal–no good food, dirt and filth and residents ignored for hours at a time with no assistance.
Page 9, on April 25, 2007 Dr. Baumash recommends that Mother Gore be transferred to a nursing home in Highland Park. This never happens.
Page 10. On May 1, 2007, Bev Cooper continues to complain to her attorney, Karen Bowes to insist that she advocate for Alice Gore because Mother is being abused at the nursing home. Case Manager, Benjamin Topp, MSW from Rehab Assist is involved and he is doing nothing about the situation. The situation does not change at all for poor Alice Gore.
Page 11. On May 1, 2007, daughter Bev Cooper complains that her mother had been placed in a room with an ill patient that had created a “bio hazzard and contaminated room”. This was a dementia patient who for 7 hours continuously spewed vile language. The patient was tied to her wheelchair for 7 hours, until she managed to escape and fell to the floor. It is not know if this person was ever helped after that and when they were helped.
On April 30, 2007, daughter requests her mother be weighed, but the weighing process was done with her mother in a sling with blankets and pillows and a result of 111 lbs. Despite repeated requests by daughter Bev Cooper to take Mother’s weight with the right procedure and the right equipment (a chair scale), this never happened.
On page 12, Bev Cooper’s complains that it appears the nursing home called the police on her for simply asking her mother be removed from a contaminated room with a vile roommate, a bio hazard situation and that her mother be fed fresh foods (see below).
On page 12 to 13, Bev Cooper complains that the puddings served to her mother have expiration dates of 2001-2002 and the food in the containers is clearly degraded.
Finally, on page 13, Bev Cooper notes that now Miriam Solo has brought an “order of protection” against Bev Cooper because she advocates for her mother and will not tolerate the filth, bad food, lousy living conditions of Lake View Nursing home. Co conspirators in the abuse, besides Mirima Solo include: Rehab Assist, Michael Elkes, etc.
On page 14, Bev Cooper again complains to her attorney about Benjamin Topp doing nothing about the elder abuse her mother is suffering. She asked Heidi Kronenberg, a case manager from Rehab Assist to also help end the elder abuse her mother is suffering and for the credential of Rehab Assist and were they properly licensed by the State of Illinois. She received no action and no response on an entirely reasonable request. Page 15.
On page 16, the court orders that Bev Cooper can only visit her mother with a court ordered supervisor, Jeanette Lounghein for a maximum of 5 days per week and that the supervisor can terminate visitation at any time she deems fit. Kindred Guardian Services will continue to provide a private duty nurse (at a nursing home? Really?) P. 17. A citation continues to remove Bev Cooper as Guardian of the Estate (for protecting her Mother from abuse). The court order mentions nothing about the abuse of Alice Gore. Pages 16 to 18. Order was entered Aug. 28, 2007.
On May 14, 2008, Bev Cooper writes to Judge Timothy Evans, the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court about the abuse of 95 year old Alice Gore. Page 19.
She complains about the continuing abuse of her mother and how both Miriam Solo and Judge Kowamoto have continued to aide and abet the abuse and/or cover it up by not allowing Bev Cooper to speak in court.
On Page 20, Bev Cooper complains bitterly about Miriam Solo’s complete lack of ethics and how she inserted herself into an estate in Florida, when it appears that Miriam Solo and her siblings are completely related to that decedent and she has directly, or indirectly appeared to have filed false affidavits and pleadings with the Florida court system;
Page 21, Bev Cooper has a chronic cough and finger nail fungus which is never treated at the nursing home. She continues on in detail about how her mother’s life has constantly been threatened by the inadequate care received at Lakeview Nursing home, and how the attorneys and judges aided and abetted the elder abuse as well as tried to cover it up in court.
Page 22, Bev Cooper notes that the cost of all the court room vendors, case managers and supervisors has run up the bill on the nursing home to $20,000 per month.
Page 23, Bev Cooper details how Miriam Solo wtihdrew her brother from an Estate in Florida because her brother, Mordechai, is on disability and she did not want him to lose his disability, but that is nothing but public assistance fraud.
Page 24. Judge Timothy Evans expressed in a letter to Beverly Cooper, he is not concerned about the situation with Alice Gore but has pushed the matter over to presiding judge Henry Budzinski. No assistance whatsoever comes from either Judge Timothy Evans or Judge Henry Budzinski for Alice Gore’s abuse and trauma at Lakeview Nursing home.
Page 26, on June 3, 2008, Bev Cooper writes a letter to the Chief for the Illinois Dept. Of Public Health complaining that they are wrong to do nothing about the egregious abuse and torture of poor elderly Alice Gore. They had sent photos and numerous documents to back up their claims of abuse at the nursing home.
Page 27, response letter from the Illinois Dept. Of Public Health, which regulates nursing homes. Page 28. The finding was “no violation” by Lakeview Nursing Home.
Page 29, Bev Cooper’s letter to the FBI dated June 16, 2008 in which she details the corruption in the Cook County Guardianship Court and the facts of her mother being abused while a ward of the state of Illinois. The FBI does nothing.
Page 31, Bev Cooper writes to the Chief Judge in Bartow, Florida about the fraud perpetrated by Miriam Solo and siblings in the Irving Faskowitz case. Judge Langford does nothing.
Page 32. On July 22, 2008, Bev Cooper is finally banned from seeing her Mother, due to all the complaints she filed with the ARDC, the Judges and Presiding Judges and Chief Judges and the Nursing Home regulatory agencies with the state of Illinois. Atty Miriam Solo is discharged but replaced by Atty David Martin.
Page 37. On July 14, 2008 Case Supervisor Annette Jungheim resigns but complains about “inappropriate comments” being made by Bev Cooper. No one ever says what the comments are or why they are inappropriate in or out of court.
Page 38. A Motion to Terminate Visitation is also filed by Miriam Solo. The fax date is 8/6/08. The inappropriate comment is that people were trying to “kill” Mrs. Gore. But it would appear by placing her in a contaminated, bio hazard room, and by ignoring her severe weight loss of 48 lbs, and feeding her bad food, inadequate food, etc. it would appear that people were abusing and torturing Alice Gore and that at 95 she could easily end up dead from the abuse and torture that no one ever seemed to correct or care about, from the Presiding Judge of Cook County, to the presiding Judge of Probate in Cook County, to the guardianship judge, Lynn Kowamoto. § 7 seems to indicate that speaking truthfully about a severely abused elderly woman, is somehow “emotional abuse” and requires that Bev Cooper seek therapy. Page 39, second paragraph. Of course, no one thinks that Judge Evans, Budzinski, Kowamoto, or Attorney Miriam Solo or the social workers from Rehab Assist are the real one who need therapy because they do not seem to take action or care when an elderly person is being tortured and abused at a crappy nursing home like Lakeview.
Page 44. Miriam Solo claims that Bev Cooper appears to have “serious problems” because she wants to protect her Mother from abuse. Miriam Solo appears to be asking attorneys Michael Norris and Phillip Tortorich to help her to cover up the abuse and not let Bev Cooper into Lakeview nursing home to check on her mother’s well being.
Page 45. Incredulously, Miriam Solo, as GAL petitions the court to put Kimberly Cooper in place as the Guardian for 95 year old Alice Gore. Miriam Solo has been told about Kim’s long history of mental illness, her frequent psych hospitalizations and the fact that she is psychotic, engages in reckless and dangerous behaviors. Miriam Solo puts Alice Gore in harm’s way with this court filed document.
Page 47, a sister warns the court that Kimberly Cooper is psychotic and should not be appointed the guardian of anyone. Sister Shannon Sandow is concerned that her grandmother is “dying and not receiving proper care.”
Page 48, Beverly Cooper files a Motion to vacate her removal as guardian. She states that the “evidence” used to remove her were unspecified allegations which were not made under oath or supported by any evidence.
I would like to than Bev and Ken Cooper for sharing these documents with us.
Investigations showed Steven Stryker, a 74-year-old man who was under Fierle’s care, did not want a do-not-resuscitate order (DNR) and stated several times that he wanted to live. Despite the elderly man’s request, as well as wishes of the man’s family, Fierle ordered his doctors to “not perform any life prolonging medical procedures,” according to a release from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
FDLE issued a warrant for Fierle’s arrest and on Monday, she was arrested by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
A judge who supervises guardians, and or mortgage foreclosures should sua sponde supervise the parties appearing before him to protect the public and in particular people who are protected by remedial statutes.
A serious problem exists in Illinois – it is the human trafficking in the elderly. As noted in the blogs AAAPG, NASGA, MaryGSykes, Probate Sharks *****problem is national and acute. As is abundantly clear the ‘intimidation’ and ‘coercion’ exhibited by the miscreants and the corrupt judges who make the ‘elder cleansing’/human trafficking viable and effective has made a mockery out of the 14th Amendment and in particular the first paragraph.
755 ILCS 5/11a – 3 sets the limits as to for whom a guardian can be appointed. These limits are not only strict and very limited, but access is limited. NB Such is true if you read the statute as it is written and intended. The jurisdictional criteria are also procrustean and failure to comply with 755 ILSCS 5/11a – 10 deprives the Court of jurisdiction. Unfortunately, with the corruption in the Illinois Courts it is the rare instance when the RULE OF LAW and the statute is complied with. Indeed, in the Mary Sykes case 09 P 4585, there was no summons of summons as required by statute, no prior notice to next of kin (jurisdictional) and no hearing. All that existed was miscreants appeared before a corrupt judge who signed whatever orders the Guardian ad Litem put before her. Mary was thus, isolated, segregated and stripped of her dignity, assets, civil rights, human rights and ultimately her life. Anyone who complained was ‘addressed!’ Lawyers who complained were given the short shift by the Illinois Disciplinary Commission, and individuals rare intimidation.
The Sallas case 07 P is another wonderful example of Illinois corruption, with a twist. Dean Sallas, who is quite competent, and an old-time realtor is resisting the corruption, but, he too has run into a wall. Not only was Dean stripped of his attorney, but, the guardian in concert with the Byline Bank is engaged in a quite inventive fraud.
The Illinois legislature is fantastic in providing legislation designed to protect the public. 755 ILCS 5/11a ==1 et seq. is well designed to protect the citizen from abuse not only from the system, but from outsiders who prey on the elderly. Under Illinois law reports by the guardian appointed are regular and mandatory supervised by the appointing judge who is supposed to be aided by a Guardian ad Litem. Illinois’ law as to fiduciaries of strict and direct. A guardian is held to an objective standard. A guardian who is not diligent or does not meet the standard of fidelity and integrity demanded by the Court and the Statute pays the penalty from his own pocket. The standard is not only objective but measured by the clear light of hindsight. EXCEPT when corruption raises its ugly head.
The Byline Bank vs. Sallas 19 CH 13960 (related to 07 P 6360 Amelia Sallas) is example. Under quite suspicious circumstances Amelia Sallas was adjudicated an incompetent. Under suspicious circumstances, Dean Sallas was provided the short end of the stick, deprived of his legal counsel and systematically deprived of his marriage rights (including property and consortium rights). In essence, Dean Sallas’ marriage to Amelia interfered with the agenda of the ‘human traffickers’ and he received a DE FACTO divorce (without his consent, his wife’s attornment, or the Rule of law).
He foregoing extra judicial events however provided little progress toward enriching the miscreants thus more inventive objectives had to be employed. To eliminate the marital equity in the marital homestead (including homestead rights, etc.) the guardian had to be more inventive that most. The half a century marriage had to be VOIDED! (As there is no legal method for involuntary dissolution of marriage – the judge reins over a de facto divorce segregating not only the person but the finances of the couple and preventing any right of consortium to exist)
Thus, the guardian used his position to induce the refinancing of the marital home. Homestead rights and marital rights being recognized in Illinois meant that either the Court approve a refinancing agreement, or a little trickery be employed. (We usually refer to this conduct as fraud). Both the incompetent and her husband had to sign mortgage documents. Apparently this feat was accomplished. The guardian assured the ‘couple’ that the current payment method would be continued and all that would happen would be a refinancing of the existing loan. The guardian DID NOT (it is believed and therefore alleged) inform either Mr. or Mrs. Salas of a statute that prohibited the transaction to wit:
(755 ILCS 5/11a-22)(from Ch. 110 1/2, par. 11a-22) Sec. 11a-22. Trade and contracts with a person with a disability. (a) Anyone who by trading with, bartering, gaming or any other device, wrongfully possesses himself of any property of a person known to be a person with a disability commits a Class A misdemeanor. (b) Every note, bill, bond or other contract by any person for whom a plenary guardian has been appointed or who is adjudged to be unable to so contract is void as against that person and his estate, but a person making a contract with the person so adjudged is bound thereby. (Source: P.A. 99-143, eff. 7-27-15.)
The foreclosure is based upon the ‘contract’ signed in direct violation of section a, and foreclosure proceeding ignores section b. It should be noted that under law (and especially Chancery procedure and Law) the foreclosure has two serious defects, to wit:
a) Unclean hands
b) Mrs. Sallas pursuant to 755 ILCS 5/11a -22b cannot be sued – ergo, as she is a NECESSARY PARTY it is clear that the foreclosure suit must be dismissed – a complete adjudication is impossible. The Byline Bank knew or should have known that it was entering into a prohibited transaction. The guardian of Ms. Sallas similarly knows or should know that a Class A misdemeanor has been committed and his not raising the same is a serious breach of his fiduciary relationship. It is also evidence of his culpability and collusion.
The guardian has exposed himself. He has attempted to coerce Dean Sallas into accepting a settlement – A reverse mortgage that Dean reports will have a maximum cash flow of $20,000. This plan was presented in the probate court. Law Center LLC 79 W. Monroe has estimated the market value of the wrongfully foreclosed dwelling at $425,000.00. The balance due on the wrongful mortgage is approximately $150,000.00
The foregoing is redundant. I’ve mentioned it before; however, what I’ve not stated before is the fact that the CIRCUIT COURT JUDGES in both the Foreclosure and the Probate Court are not appointed to the bench because of their good looks. Each judge took an oath to uphold the law.
Whether the lawyers represent their clients properly or not – or are competent or not the JUDGES’ oath is to uphold the law. The words:
(755 ILCS 5/11a-22)(from Ch. 110 1/2, par. 11a-22) Sec. 11a-22. Trade and contracts with a person with a disability. (a) Anyone who by trading with, bartering, gaming or any other device, wrongfully possesses himself of any property of a person known to be a person with a disability commits a Class A misdemeanor. (b) Every note, bill, bond or other contract by any person for whom a plenary guardian has been appointed or who is adjudged to be unable to so contract is void as against that person and his estate, but a person making a contract with the person so adjudged is bound thereby. (Source: P.A. 99-143, eff. 7-27-15.)
Are in no need of interpretation – they are clear. Once Mrs. Sallas was adjudicated an incompetent she could not directly or indirectly enter a CONTRACT. Renewal, extension etc. are all contracts and all are prohibited. This is not to say that the guardian = with application and approval of the Court – could not enter into a contract affecting the same subject matter – BUT Mrs. Sallas’ participation was prohibited for two reasons, to wit:
c) It is a crime, and
d) If she has the capacity to enter into the contract then the guardianship is highly suspect! Indeed, it is an acknowledgment that the guardianship proceeding is ultra vires and probably wrongful nunc pro tunc.
are clear and concise – and very understandable.
ERGO -THERE IS NO EXCUSE for the words not being honored and the foreclosure judge not sua sponte dismissing with prejudice the mortgage foreclosure lawsuit 19 CH 13960. There is further no just cause for the Judge in the guardianship cause sua sponte determining if the guardian has violated his oath of office and committed a criminal contempt.
The Judge in not recognizing the possible criminal activity of the guardian and the bank is in breach of his/her fiduciary duty. Such is a serious corruption – IF IN FACT SUCH IS THE FACT.
Pursuant to my ABA Rule 8.3 and my statutory duty pursuant to 18 USCA 4. This information is forwarded to Law Enforcement and appropriate authorities’
(CNN) — For over a decade, Greyhound Lines has partnered with the National Runaway Safeline — an organization that seeks to keep runaway and homeless youth safe — to reunite young people with their families and guardians.
To get a free ticket home, a person between the ages of 12 and 21 must call the NRS helpline (1-800-RUNAWAY). They also must be named on a runaway report and be willing to return to their family. The family or guardian also needs to agree to receive them at home.
If the individual hoping to return home is under the age of 15, Home Free also provides a free ticket for the child’s parent or guardian.
A person can only get a ticket home through the program twice.
More than just a ticket
Before a young person begins their journey home, National Runaway Safeline says it works with them and their guardians to create a plan for their return and locates resources in the community that will be able to provide support once they are settled.
After the family is reunited, group says it follows up to make sure the family member arrived home safely and provides additional resources.
Why children run away from home
The National Runaway Safeline is careful to emphasize that children who run away from home are not “bad” kids. Runaway children, the organization says, are usually running away from something, not towards something.
“They are dealing with a situation that feels overwhelming,” National Runaway Safeline says, “be it family dynamics, bullying, gender identity or being lured from home over the internet. They believe living anywhere else is better; even if this means living on the streets.”
Nearly half of the youth interviewed by the organization say they were thrown out of their homes. Their reasons vary, but commonly include significant family conflict that had been happening for some time.
In 2013, Dr. Farid Fata of Michigan was convicted of health care fraud of the worst sort–billing insurance, medicare and medicaid for false diagnoses of cancer treatments and chemo. But then in an effort to further cover up the crimes, the are hospitals started billing patient families outrageous sums for getting their loved ones medical records.
It’s a system of fraud, corruption and greed. And it clearly wasn’t just one doctor… many others should have been imprisoned too apparently.
more than 550 patients and $34 million dollars in fraud.
Continuing the saga of Miriam Solo Greenfield Faskowitz’s endeavors in Probate cases, the Illinois State ATG just filed an appearance in the Estate of Ralla Klepak.
I would post this to her timeline, but I’m afraid the powers that be will shut it down. Shssh, don’t tell them.
From the docket sheet today:
Activity Date: 01/07/2020
Estate of: KLEPAK RALLA
APPEARANCE FILED – FEE WAIVED
ATTORNEY GENERALS OFFICE
100 W RANDOLPH ST
CHICAGO , IL 60601
Rep, Minor or Claimant:
Shared Case Number:
Activity Date: 01/07/2020
Estate of: KLEPAK RALLA
APPEARANCE FILED – FEE WAIVED
ATTORNEY GENERALS OFFICE
100 W RANDOLPH ST
CHICAGO , IL 60601
Rep, Minor or Claimant:
Shared Case Number:
worActivity Date: 01/07/2020
Estate of: KLEPAK RALLA
NOTICE OF FILING FILED
ATTORNEY GENERALS OFFICE
100 W RANDOLPH ST
CHICAGO , IL 60601
Rep, Minor or Claimant:
Shared Case Number:
as Ken Ditkowsky has oft said, you can’t even make this stuff up.
Word is on the street, Miriam Solo is telling people Ralla Klepak has $23 million in her estate.
The son is clearly missing from her will. Where is he?
Jorge Bautista named in the will (at the wrong address) is 71 years old and clearly not her son. but he was served at the wrong address according to Instandcheckmate.com. Why was that? Is he in on it? Is he going to be excluded? WTFreak is going on here?
Where is the son?
She told me she had a son she loved. She told me she adopted him at age 10.
1) Estate of Marjorie Ivy, a long time girl friend of brother Mordecai Faskowitz
On April 11, 2014, Chris Ivy, the nephew of Marjorie Ivy, files a Petition to become the Independent Administrator of his deceased sister Marjorie Ivy. Page 1
According to a October 11, 2013 article in the Chicago Tribune, Mordecai Faskowitz shared an apartment with 70 year old Marjorie Ivy, page 12. The Cook County medical examiner’s office determined that Marjorie Ivy died from multiple stab wounds and cuts in a homicide. Mordechai Faskowitz was held without bail on a murder charge.
Marjorie Ivy had been dead for days, because a man who had keys to the building discovered her body because he had not seen her for days and the apartment was emitting a foul odor. Page 12.
Mordecai F. Admitted to the crime but had to be tazed by police so they could arrest him. Page 13. A friend said of Ivy, that she was a very nice person “who was passionate about animal rights.”
The value of Marjorie’s estate in the Petition was listed as $850,000 by the nephew Chris Ivy.
On page 3, a listing of Marjorie’s assets shows a Vanguard IRA, a Drefus Crop investment account and a New York Life Insurance policy, all naming Moredecai Faskowitz as Beneficiary and/or his trust, Mordechai Faskowitz Supplemental Care Trust. Page 2, ¶ d indicates that it was Razel Faskowitz who created the MFSC Trust naming Miriam Greenfield as Trustee in 2006.
Page 4 shows that Mordecai was found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity. Para. 10 relates that Marjorie died of more than 40 stab wounds.
Page 2 shows that the Estate of Marjorie Ivy attempted to reclaim all assets left to Mordecai on under the Illinois Slayer Statute which provides that “A person who intentionally and unjustifiably causes the death of another shall not receive any property, benefit or other interest by reason of the death…in any capacity.” Para 11.
Pages 9 to 11 shows that Marjorie Ivy has some 28 nieces and nephews with an interest in her Estate.
Miriam Solo then files an Affidavit with the Estate of Marjorie Ivy in which she explains: 1) she is the younger sister of Mordecai (page 15). That she met with Mordecai and Marjorie (Gayle) Ivy in June 2016 for Marjorie to “provide for each other” and “Gayle’s specific desire to add to the trust, of which I was the trustee.” ¶ 6.
Question: how is it that Marjorie dies October 13, 2013, Mordechai is put in jail, but then she and Mordechai are meeting with Miriam Solo in June of 2016 to move Marjorie’s assets into Mordechai’s estate upon her death? Why is Miriam Solo helping with this when Mordechai is her brother and she is the trustee of his “Supplemental Needs Trust”? When Mordechai dies, his Estate flows into a Supplemental Needs Trust (again, Miriam Solo is the Trustee) (see below), but why would Marjorie Ivy want to leave her Estate to Avrohom Soloveichik whom she is not related to, upon Mordechai’s passing?
The Affidavit continues on with ¶ ¶ 8 to 33 detailing Mordecahi’s alleged schizophrenic episodes which led up to Marjorie’s death caused by over 40 stab wounds from Mordechai. The real question is, why was Miriam Solo acutely aware of Mordechai’s deteriorating mental health, but she did not make certain that he had his meds and was taking them. She was the only sibling living in Chicago at the time, and she had his POA and he was at her house sometimes during August to September 2013 and Miriam Solo knew his mental condition was extremely poor at that time, yet she did nothing about it.
The probate court, after briefing and hearing, the court then issues an Order that the Petition to disqualify Faskowitz under the Slayer Statute is denied. Page 28. This was based upon a Petition for Summary Judgment filed by Miriam Greenfield on December 7, 2017, page 53 to 63. Miriam Greenfield signed as “agent pursuant to the power of attorney for Mordechai Faskowitz”, p. 36. How did Miriam Solo get this Power of Attorney when Mordechai has been incompetent for years and subject to shcizophrenic and dangerous episodes for most of his life?
A dispute ensues over Mordecahi being able to answer Interrogatory questions prior to hearing because he is institutionalized. Pages 29 to 34.
Page 37 show the beneficiary change request to Moredecai Faskowitz and a secondary beneficiary, Adrienne Russ, both listed as friends. This was done June 23, 2010 and not in June 2016
An Interpleader action was also filed over the the New York Life policy. Page 39.
It is not known from the court records if Mordecai’s deposition was ever taken.
It does not appear in either the court records or in the decision on Appeal, if anyone noticed that the standard to convict for an intentional homocide is “beyond a reasonable doubt’ in criminal court, but there is a much lesser standard of “more probable than not” to disinherit a person in Probate court.
By the time the Interpleader is filed, there are now 45 nieces and nephews claiming an interest in this estate. Pages 41 to 44.
The decision was based upon a Summary Judgment Motion which had argued that Res Judicata applied to the finding of NGRI, and therefore Mordecai was barred from inheriting from his stabbing victim Marjorie.
The Appellate court ruled at ¶ 30 however: A Finding of NGRI on a Charge of First Degree Murder Does Not Create an Irrebuttable Presumption Under the Slayer Statute.
The issue for Marjorie Ivy, stabbed to death over 40 times by Mordecai, was taken up on Appeal and the Illinois Appellate court ruled that the trial court’s decision that someone found “not guilty by reason of insanity” is not irrefutably covered under the Slayer Statute. They find that the use of Summary Judgment was inappropriate for the issues at hand, that is whether the killing was intentional. The court noted that admissions spoken to various doctors during examination could not be excepted from the hearsay rule and were not considered. No deposition was ever taken of Mordecai and since he died on May 15, 2019 (page 49), it is doubtful that there is any possibility of preventing his estate, his Trust, operated now by Miriam Solo, to go to the rightful heirs or the nieces and nephews of Marjorie Gayle Ivy.
No new pleadings have been filed as of that decision. A status is set for Jan. 14, 2019.
The Appellate Court decision is located at:
Note “Miriam F. Solo” is listed as an attorney on appeal, presumably for brother Mordechai Faskowitz. ¶ 15, “Respondent, through his agent” filed an answer to the Petitions to disinherit him under the Slayer Statute. Meaning Miriam Solo was the agent for Mordechai, but where is her Power of Attorney, when was it executed and how did she know he was in his right mind when it was executed. Or, is it a durable power of attorney that would survive Mordechai’s insanity and incompetence? In any case, Mordechai Faskowitz had been confined to the Elgin Mental Health Hospital since his criminal trial, and perhaps before that up until his death in May of 2019.
More important, the will Miriam Solo filed as Executor was prepared just days before the death of brother Mordecai and it no doubt had to be Executed and witnessed at the Elgin State Mental Hospital. Was Mordechai even competent at that time, not insane, not mentally disabled? After all these facts, that would be quite a stretch to say Mordechai was even competent to have a will. And what about the POA which was used to file all the documents and pleadings in this case? How could a POA be valid when Mordechai was regularly seeing demons and hearing voices? Was it a durable POA granted years earlier when Mordechai was more mentally stable?
And while Marjorie Ivy’s estate is purported to go to the Special Needs Trust for Mordechai Faskowitz, his will at page 45 states that his Estate will go to the Special Needs Trust for Avorihim Soloveichik, another disabled individual. In these special needs trusts, however, the beneficiaries are incapacitated or incompetent, so who is overseeing the management of these funds?
More important, it would appear that Miriam Soloveichik back in 1994 was appointed the Guardian of Avohom Soloveichik, 94 P 10177. Despite the fact she was legally required to file an annual report on the ward, as well as an accounting if the ward held any personal property, Miriam Solo has filed just two annual reports on the ward, so how is then that Miriam Solo is qualified in any manner to manage a trust with $850,000 in it for Avrohom Soloveichik, a disabled person. (https://drive.google.com/open?id=1W-CwP1zSqtSZXGDIVA88xJHy8ZKL4WOo)
2) Estate of Mordechai Faskowitz
Right before the Appellate court decision of June 26, 2019 was handed down, Mordechai Faskowitz dies on May 15, 2019, page 49, and younger sister Miriam Solo Greenfield Petitions to become his Executor.
While all along during the Probate proceedings for Marjorie Ivy in which Miriam Solo was arguing on behalf of Mordechai Faskowitz that Mordechai was hopelessly insane, seeing and hearing demons, stabbing them and skipping his meds, we find that Mordechai Faskowitz, who never gave a deposition or answered critical Interrogatories, is now able to execute a will and is suddenly of “sound mind and memory”. Page 45.
Question, which is it? Was Mordecai hopelessly schizophrenic, seeing demons, stabbing at demons, or is he of “sound mind and memory.” Who is manipulating his pleadings in court?
On page 45, Miriam Solo Greenfield is appointed Executor of his Will and his entire inheritance is amazingly provided to Avrohom Soloveichik Supplemental Needs Trust, even though Mordechai has numerous nieces and nephews and Avrohom has been, for years, placed in an institution in New York as a disabled adult.
The witnesses are illegible, and not typed into this will but appear to be Miriam Greenfield at her address 6538 N Sacramento, and an attorney friend of hers, Jonathan Shimberg, 9003 Lincolnwood Dr, Evanston, IL 60203, Page 46.
NOTE: this will, likely created by Miriam Solo, is not notarized. The names of the witnesses are not typed out. No phone numbers are emails are provided for the witnesses.
Listed as heirs on Page 51 are Avrohom Soloveichik Suppplemental Needs Trust with Miriam Soloveichik as Trustee (now listed as M. Greenfield, Trustee), together with brother Moshe Faskowitz, and sisters Michele Triester and Brandy Tuchman. On page 52 it also lists Miriam Solo Greenfield. Avrohom Soloveichik is Miriam’s eldest special needs disabled son by her first marriage.
Further provided in this estate is an Affidavit of Heirship noting that Chaim Faskowitz (DOD Aug. 1997) and Razel (Rose) Jofen (DOD Dec. 2018) are the parents of the decedent Mordechai Faskowitz. Page 47.
In this Affidavit Chaim and Razel or Rose Faskowitz had 5 children: Moshe, Mordechai, Miriam, Michele and Brandy.
2) Estate of Irving (Isaac) Faskowitz (Fisk) and Sofia in Florida
On April 8, 1999, Sofia (Fisk) Faskowitz died leaving her entire estate to her husband, Irving Fisk.Page 100 and 98.
On June 22, 1999, Irving (Isaac) (Fisk) Faskowitz died, but his will only name his wife who had predeceased him. Pages 101 and 96.
Neither of the wills executed by Sofia and Irving Fisk named any other beneficiaries other than themselves.
A probate proceeding, PC 99-307 was opened in Florida and Rose Faskowitz, mother of Miriam Faskowitz Soloveichik Greenfield, promptly filed an Affidavit of Heirship (page 65) claiming that her husband’s name was Chaim, and that he was a cousin and uncle of the decedent, Irving Faskowitz. ¶ 15. This was because the decedent’s father was Isaac Faskowitz, and Isaac’s father was Mordecai Faskowitz. Mordecai had another Son Moshe. Son Moshe married the daughter of Mordecai, or in other words, Daughter Miriam supposedly married her uncle Moshe. They had four children: Chaim, Alter Mordecai, Breina and Beila. Only Chaim had children. Chaim married the Affiant, Rose Faskowitz, and they had four children: Moshe, Miriam, Brandy and Michel. ¶ 10.
During World War II, Chaim’s entire family was in Poltusk, Poland.
The Affiant, Rose (Razel) Faskowitz, then claims the rest of the family, other than her and Chaim, perished in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II.
However, it must be noted that while ¶ 10 of the Affidavit of Rose Faskowitz lists four children (Moshe, Miriam, Brandy and Michel); note that in the Estate of Mordechai Faskowitz, Rose suddently has a 5th child–Mordecai.
On page 50-51, the Affidavit of heirship for Mordechai’s Estate clearly shows 4 siblings: Moshe, Brandy and Miriam. Apparently on January 5, 2001 Rose (Razel) Faskowitz forgot she had a 5th child.
We know that Miriam Greenfield Solo was involved in this because she filed a Consent and Waiver and acknowledged a copy of the Petition to Determine Beneficiaries and waived notice to hearing on the Petition to Determine Beneficiaries. (Page 65). She also received a copy of the Fla. ATG Petition to Set Aside Finding of Beneficiaries. Page 82. While brother Mordechai was remembered when he hacked his girlfriend Marjorie Gayle Ivy to death, she forgot he had to be included in this estate of alleged Uncle/Cousin Isaac Faskowitz.
Nonetheless, the Affidavit of Heirship filed by Rose (Razel) Faskowitz turns out to be utter nonsense.
On August 2, 2001, the Attorney General of Florida investigated the Probate Case of Irving (Isaac) (Fisk) Faskowitz and concluded that none of the children of Rose Faskowitz were in fact related to Irving Faskowitz, the decedent. While the Affidavit of Rose Faskowitz tells a long tale of nieces marrying their uncles (the family tree that does not branch) and harrowing escapes from Nazi occupied Europe to the US, none of that is apparently true.
From ¶ 8 of the ATG letter:
The information provided by the discovery of the decedent’s birth certificate is inconsistent with the Affidavits in support of the Petition to Determine Beneficiaries as follows:
a) the decedent’s name at birth was Isaac Faskowitz, not Irving Faskowitz, as alleged by affiants.
b) the decedent was born in the Borough of Manhattan, City of New York, State of New York; not Poland as alleged.
c) The decedent’s parents were Harry and Anne Faskowitz, not Isaac Faskowitz, as alleged.
d) The decedent did not, nor did his parents, immigrate to the United States from Poland. The decedent’s parents immigrated from Russia, and the decedent himself was born in this country. ¶ 8, p.81 ¶
It should also be noted that Isaac Faskowitz was married to Sofia Faskowitz and her death certificate says she was born in Puerto Rico and therefore was an US citizen. Nothing was said of her in the Affidavit. Most likely decedent met his wife in the large Puerto Rican community when he was young in Manhattan. The decedent was an US citizen born in New York City.
Despite the fact that the ATG of Florida researched the probate estate and found the heirs to be a fraud, no action was taken by the Florida Probate Court and on December 2006, the Estate was finally distributed with a total of $1,592,456 for 4 beneficiaries, or $398,114. Not bad for finding a similar name and cooking up affidavits.
On page 89, An agreed order was entered determining the beneficiaries to be Miriam Greenfield, Brandy Tuchman, Michel Triester and Moshe Faskowitz. No mention of brother Mordechai.
On page 91, it appears that Moshe Faskowitz, Rose Faskowitz and Dr. Jean Jofen were already to testify there were 4 children of fake Uncle/Cousin Mr. Isaac Faskowitz and not 5.
On page 93 is the Proof of service of final accounting and petition for discharge. Again, no mention of a 5th sibling in the Faskowitz sibling group. Mordechai is missing his hundreds of thousands of dollars. And Miriam Solo Soloveichik Faskowitz Greenfield is part of it.
3. Estate of Ralla Klepak
On May 3, 2019, Miriam Solo Greenfield files a Petition to become the Executor of her friend, Ralla Klepak, who passed on April 25, 2019. Page 118.
She lists the value of Ralla’s personal property at $1 million and her real estate at 2046 W. Addison Ave, Chicago for $250,000, despite the fact that Ralla’s office building, which she owns, is worth easily over one million dollars. In addition she owns a home on Addison Ave and a home in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The decedent, Ralla Klepak, has told many people that she adopted a Mexican son, however no “son” is mentioned in her will at Page 102. A Jorge Bautista at 5158 N Ashland is listed in the will, but he is not mentioned as a son. According to Instantcheckmate.com there is a person named Jorge Bautista at 5156 N Ashland and an address in Tampa, Florida. However he is 71 years old and clearly not a “son” which Ralla met and adopted at age 10 some decades back.
The bulk of the Estate is given to Miriam Solo. All the contents of Ralla’s home. Third ¶ p. 103. Jorge Bautista $500,000. Miriam Solo is given Ralla’s Puerta Del Sol South Apartment in St. Petersburg, Florida. P.105, FOURTEENTH ¶ , the rest and residue of her estate to the Ralla Klepak Trust for the Performing Arts, and Miriam Solo is to get $75,000 per year for managing the trust. Page 109, Article4 (sic). Large amounts are given to various charities on p.110. $100,000 to Victory Gardens Theater, $100,000 to Steppenwolf Theater, $100,000 to Northlight Theater, etc. Page 110
The Will appears to have been quickly drafted with tons of typos.
A typical will has the Testator initial every page of the will. No pages are initialed in this Will.
The will has an attestation clause by witnesses, but it is not notarized, as a will typically is notarized.
Sharran Greenburg is a witness, and mentioned in the will.
The will is executed 2 months before she died. Just like some others…..
Bev Cooper (the host of the show) is the daughter of 99 year old Alice Gore.
Miriam Solo (aka Soloveichik, Greenfield, Fisk, Faskowicz), was the Guardian ad Litem for Alice Gore.
11:18 – MS brought false charges against Bev Cooper and obtained a false Order of Protection
Bev Cooper had to pay to see her own mother at Warren Barr Pavillion, a nursing home 20 miles from Bev Cooper’s home. Bev Cooper loved to take care of her mother and told Miriam Solo she wanted to take her mom home and take care of mom — for free.
12:19 – Nursing home is owned by a cousin of MS
13:10 $1.5 million is billed by attorneys in fees during 3 years of guardianship
13:15 – Alice Gore loves to eat, but against her will a GI tube is inserted so she can never eat again.
14:40 – MS chooses a mentally ill granddaughter, with multiple psych hospitalizations to become the guardian of Alice Gore, over the objections and petitions of Bev Cooper to become the guardian of her own mother
15:50 – Bev Cooper cannot visit her own mother
16:08 – Bev Cooper states than MS is an animal, inhumane, and evil
There are now two wills (Klepak, Mordechai, Ivy) which all have the following similarities:
1) not notarized, witness signatures have no typed or printed names next to them so their names are easily read and known to others.
2) the decedent dies days or weeks after the will is allegedly executed (Mordechai, Klepak)
3) disabled individuals are used to move substantial amounts of money via a Trust mechanism, which is essentially a private device with no court oversight and little accountability, especially where the beneficiary is mentally deficient or incompetent. Who is looking out for this disabled person? Where is the accountability and oversight when the Beneficiary is disabled or mentally infirm himself?
CHICAGO — The inspector general of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is out with some startling statistics: 123 children died within a year of becoming involved with the child welfare system over the last fiscal year.
“This is wholly unacceptable and represents a nearly 25% increase from the prior year,” Cook County Public Guardian Charles Golbert wrote in a statement to reporters.
A deeper dive into the inspector general’s report examining the period between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019, reveals of the 123 deaths, 24 were ruled homicide, 37 were accidental, 34 were deemed “natural,” 7 were suicide and the cause of death in 21 was undetermined.
DCFS’ policies and procedures have faced renewed scrutiny after the death of A.J. Freund in April 2019. DCFS was repeatedly warned of problems in the home but the 5-year-old was allowed to remain in the home. AJ’s mother plead guilty to murder and his father is awaiting trial. Two state workers who were assigned the case have been terminated.
The inspector general’s report found allegations of domestic abuse, substance abuse or mental health problems had been reported in 41 percent of all deaths.
DCFS acting Inspector General Meryl Paniak noted her office investigated all 123 deaths and provided detailed reports to the agency, legislature and governor.
“I am disheartened that many of the problems I identify here have been identified before,” Paniak wrote to the governor and legislators. “We, Illinois, must do better,” she wrote.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Governor J.B. Pritzker noted the period reflected in the study was before the governor’s first budget took effect on July 1, 2019, increasing DCFS’ budget by $128 million. That money went towards hiring 300 additional “frontline” employees, experts to recommend policy overhauls and training programs.
“Neglected and abused children have been badly served in Illinois, and Governor Pritzker believes it’s our duty as a state to invest in the long-term transformation of DCFS to better serve our most vulnerable children,” spokesperson Jordan Abudayyeh said.
A spokesperson for DCFS issued the following statement:
“The death of any child in Illinois is a tragedy and this department is deeply committed to protecting vulnerable children in this state. Over the past several years, that mission became increasingly challenging as funding cuts and staff reductions left the agency under resourced and without the staff needed to give vulnerable children the care they deserve. At the same time, cases increased with an increase of more than 5000 investigations in FY19 and the number of youth brought in to care and families supported by Intact Family Services increasing as well.
On July 1, with leadership from the Governor and the General Assembly, a new budget went into effect that reversed course. The FY20 budget allowed DCFS to hire 300 additional staff and more than 2,800 existing staff across the state have now received new training on child safety. The entire leadership of DCFS, including child protection and operations, have been completely restructured and in response to the Chapin Hall report intact family services has been restructured as well. Overhauling the department and reversing long-standing problems in the child welfare system won’t happen overnight, but we are making dramatic improvements and we are deeply committed to getting this right.”
(warning, original site is filled with ads that will slow down or crash your computer)
Women have come a long way in this world; well, in America, especially. Although ladies can pretty much hop in their car, get a job, have a drink, and do whatever else they please, this was not always the case. Although you might be familiar with the fact that women had to fight for their rights, you probably don’t realize how many basic things females were denied. (White) Men, on the other hand, were not rejected from these same primary benefits. Luckily, times have changed, but some even in the 21st century, ladies still struggle for equal pay — something that has been a fight for decades..
A woman shopping with magnetic stripe technology in the 1970s. IBM
40. Credit Cards Were Not For Women
Financially, there were many things that women couldn’t do without their husbands and taking out a credit card under their name was one of them. Legally, banks could deny women credit cards until 1974 with the passing of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. The applications from women who tried to take a credit card out under their name received the stamp of “denied” or told them to get their husband’s’ signature on the form. If the woman wasn’t married, the bank would still request she bring a male, such as her father or brother, who could co-sign the application.
Gloria Allred with client Norma McCorvey who was Jane Roe in Roe v. Wade) in 1973. Lorie Shaull / Wikimedia Commons.
39. Women Couldn’t Legally Get An Abortion For Any Reason
Legal abortion isn’t only a hot topic today, but it’s been a hot topic for decades. In fact, women’s weren’t able to legally have an abortion for any reason until 1970 when a college student from Texas known as “Jane Roe” decided to challenge the law. She claimed that she had to right to abortion in her own state. Roe went up against Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade in Texas’ Federal Court. While the case started in 1970, it didn’t end until 1973 in Roe’s favor with the Roe Vs. Wade case stating states which ban abortions are unconstitutional.
Women’s Rights Protest. Mic.com
38. They Couldn’t Celebrate International Women’s Day
By the time the 1970s rolled around, women all over the world were tired of being treated as second class citizens. They started to demand equal treatment across the globe and in every aspect of their lives. This call included being able to celebrate themselves. While International Women’s Day history started in the early 1900s, no one acknowledged the date in the United States. It all changed in the mid-1970s and the further improved in 1980 when then President Carter stated that the States would celebrate International Women’s week, including International Women’s Day, which is March 8th.
A woman answering the phone at work. FPG / Getty Images / Vox.
37. Women Could Get Fired For Becoming Pregnant
Before the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, women could quickly lose their jobs because of a pregnancy. The passing of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act stated that women could not get fired because they became pregnant as this was an act of discrimination against women. Of course, this didn’t mean that women would receive payment for the time they missed due to their pregnancy. It also didn’t say that they couldn’t be fired for “other reasons” once they became pregnant. The act just meant that the reason for firing a woman could not be because of her pregnancy.
Kathrine Switzer attacked while running in the Boston Marathon in 1967. Getty Images / Jezebel.
36. They Wouldn’t Be Acknowledged For Running In The Boston Marathon
The first woman to try to run in the Boston Marathon was Kathrine Switzer, a student at Syracuse University, in 1967. At the time, the Boston Marathon didn’t acknowledge women, and while Switzer registered, ran, and made history, she was attacked, spit on, and taunted. In fact, it wouldn’t be until five years later, in 1972, when women didn’t receive an acknowledgment as runners in the Boston Marathon. Nina Kuscsik from Huntington, New York, was one of the first women to be acknowledged, coming in first for women at 3 hours, 10 minutes, and 26 seconds in 1972.
A woman demanding equal pay. NY Times / Bentley.edu.
35. Organizations Started Focusing On Enforcing Work Equality For Women
Even though the 1964 Civil Rights Act stated employment places could not discriminate based on gender or race, females continued to face work discrimination and inequality well into the 1970s. It seemed that no matter what act Congress passed, women continued to face discrimination. Therefore, the National Organization of Women started to focus their attention on the issues that women faced in the workplace. This organization worked to make sure employment agencies enforced the new acts. Unfortunately, discrimination is still a struggle in the workplace as women are still underpaid and often harassed.
Andrea Hollen graduating from West Point. Department of the Army / army.mil.
34. Women Couldn’t Receive Admittance Into A Military Academy
While women have always had a part in wars, starting with the Revolutionary War, they didn’t have the choice of combat roles. On top of this, girls were not allowed to attend a military academy simply because men believed that women would not be able to make through the academy. This idea changed when West Point admitted its first female students in 1976. Four years later, Andrea Hollen and 61 other females became the first women to graduate from a military academy on May 28, 1980. However, women couldn’t fight in combat until 2013, per a 1994 ban.
Pilots with flight attendants in the 1970s. Flashbak.
33. Women Couldn’t Protect Themselves From Workplace Sexual Harassment
During the 1970s, courts began ruling that people who sexually harassed women in the workplace violated the 1964 Civil Rights Act and women should be able to protect themselves from sexual advances. This ruling occurred in 1977 when the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia stated women could not get fired if they refused sexual advantages from their boss. In 1980 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission came up with a definition for sexual harassment and stated it created a hostile work environment. Six years later, the United States Supreme Court would agree with their ruling.
Pregnant Workers Demonstration. Fordham news.
32. They Didn’t Receive Any Paid Maternity Leave
The first time anything about paid maternity leave became a news topic was in 1969 when five states agreed that women should be able to take time around the time they gave birth. On top of this, the state courts ruled that the women should be able to receive some sort of compensation while they were out on maternity leave. Therefore, the Temporary Disability Insurance Act was born. However, this act didn’t fix everything required for paid maternity leave. Currently, there are still hundreds of workplaces which do not pay maternity leave.
January Jones as Betty Francis in Mad Men. socialjusticesolutions.org.
31. Women Couldn’t Receive Direct Consultation About Physical and Mental Health
If you’re a “Mad Men” fan, you might remember a scene when Betty’s second husband, Henry Frances, discussed Betty’s cancer diagnosis with the doctor. At the time, Betty was sitting off to the side listening to their conversation. If you’ve ever wondered why it is because women didn’t receive direct consultation about their health from doctors. A wife had to have her husband speak on her behalf for many reasons; one being women couldn’t understand what the doctors were saying.
Women’s Rights Against Violence rally. Circulating Now.
30. She Couldn’t Refuse Sex From Her Husband
Wives finally started to receive some legal protection in the 1970s from their husbands. State courts began to realize that there was something called marital rape. However, very few states would do anything about any type of spousal rape accusations from a woman until the early 1990s with the Violence Against Women Act of 1994. With this act, women became legally protected from any act of violence from their husband, including physical assault and rape. Before the action, many police departments around the United States believed any abuse from a husband towards his wife was a private family matter.
A photo of Sonny and Cher in 1971. CBS Television / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain.
29. Divorce Became Quicker And Easier
Many people question the reason that the divorce rate is so much higher today than it was 50 years ago. One of the biggest reasons for this is because women have the right to get divorced without having needing proof. Generally, the evidence pointed to their husband cheating. However, lawmakers started to notice that some women had trouble proving who was at fault. Therefore, they came up with a solution, legalizing the No-Fault Divorce Act in 1969. This act allowed women to obtain a divorce easier as they no longer had to prove their partner’s fault when requesting a divorce.
Esther Morris. WSA Sub Neg 2666 / WYO State Archives.
28. They Couldn’t Serve As A Judge
While some states had selected female judges before the 1970s, women weren’t typically able to sit in the at a regular rate in the United States until the 1970s when the majority of states allowed women to serve as judges. In fact, women as judges is a slowly growing trend historically. From the first female Justice of Peace, Esther Morris, in Wyoming during the 1870s until today, the profession for females is still growing. Fortunately, the rate of female judges is starting to build a bit quicker than in the past.
Sally Ride on Challenger’s mid-deck during STS-7 in 1983. NASA / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain.
27. Women Couldn’t Be Astronauts
While NASA didn’t have an actual ban on women becoming astronauts before the 1970s, their guidelines took women out of the process. They just didn’t allow women to interview for the possibility of becoming an astronaut. Part of this was because NASA only accepted military applications and the military didn’t take women. However, this all changed in 1979 when NASA first started hiring women so they could train them as an astronaut. Then, in 1983, Sally Ride became the first female astronaut to go up into space.
Harvard University. Jannis Tobias Werner / Shutterstock / Business Insider.
26. They Wouldn’t Be Admitted Into An Ivy League University
For decades, educating males became more important than females. Because of this, it became harder for women to receive admittance into colleges. Furthermore, it became even harder for women to apply to an ivy league college such as Harvard or Yale. These type of colleges didn’t regularly accept women until close to the 1970s. Yale became the first ivy league college to admit women in 1969. After that, many other ivy league college started to accept women but at a pretty slow rate. For example, Columbia University didn’t allow women until 1983.
Christine Beshar was one of the first females to become a partner of a NY law firm in 1971. wealth365.
25. Ladies Couldn’t Easily Practice Law
For nearly about a century, women had to fight for their right to practice law. While there were previous female judges and lawyers, it was scarce to see a woman in the legal field until the late 1960s and into the early 1970s. In fact, Cornell University ran a study which confirmed that 90% of law firms refused to interview women who applied for placement in their firms. On top of this, most law schools wouldn’t admit women into their programs.
The morning after pill. Bustle.
24. Women Couldn’t Receive The Morning After Pill
Another thing that women struggled receiving before the 1970s was the morning after pill. The morning after pill would not become FDA approved until the late 1990s, even though it became more available for females during the 1970s. Moreover, when the contraceptive became available, women still had almost secretly to find a way to take the morning after pill. Even so, women today still reportedly feel embarrassed or ashamed when they have to take the morning after pill. Many professionals think that the reason behind this is because of the slow acceptance of contraception regarding women.
Birth control pills. Unsplash / Philly Voice.
23. They Struggled To Get A Birth Control Pill
The birth control pill went a little faster than the morning after pill. The FDA approved the medicine during the 1960s; however, individual states could create their own laws when it came to the birth control pill. Many states didn’t allow doctors to give their patients the birth control pill for various reasons. One woman from Connecticut, Estelle Griswold, started to sell the contraception, getting herself arrested. Her case went to the Supreme Court, which upheld that married women could receive the birth control pill in 1965. During the 1970s, more states started to allow doctors to prescribe the medication.
Richard and Mildred Loving had three children together. History.
22. Interracial Marriage Was Illegal In Most States
One of the most famous cases of interracial marriage is the Loving Vs. Virginia case. This hearing made it to the United States Supreme Court, which declared states that didn’t allow couples to marry on the base of color was unconstitutional and violated the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Mildred Loving and her husband, Richard, brought forth the case after their arrest and prison sentence for marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court forced states to allow interracial marriage in 1967, which helped increase interracial marriage during the 1970s.
A group of women trying to register for jury duty in Portland, Oregon in 1912. Gardiner P. Bissel, Oregon Journal / Wikimedia Commons.
21. Women Couldn’t Serve On A Jury
There are many gray areas throughout history, and this is one of these areas. Prior to the 1970s, females serving on a jury was rare but not impossible. It did happen but it hardly ever occurred before the 1970s, especially once the 20th Century rolled around. This notion is because allowing women to serve in a jury became a law for individual states to decide. Many states didn’t allow women to sit on a jury until 1973 when all 50 states made it a requirement that females were allowed to participate.
Supreme Court Justice-nominee Sandra Day O’Connor talks with President Ronald Reagan outside the White House, July 15, 1981.
White House Photographic Office
Then Supreme Court Justice-nominee Sandra Day O’Connor talking with then President Ronald Reagan in 1981. White House Photographic Office / Wikimedia Commons.
20. Likewise, They Couldn’t Serve On The Supreme Court
The 1970s became a groundbreaking decade for women in the legal field. During the 1970s, more law school started accepting women; they could serve of juries and become lawyers. The legal industry began to bloom with women interested in a legal career. However, it wasn’t until right after the 1970s, in 1981, when Sandra Day O’Connor received a seat for the Supreme Court. She held this position until 2006 when she retired. Other than O’Connor, three other women have served on the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Elena Kagan.
John Travolta and actress Diana Hyland briefly dated in the 1970s. Julian Wassar / Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images
19. Girlfriends Couldn’t Legally Live With Their Boyfriends
Today many dating couples don’t think twice about living together with each other before getting married. In fact, common law marriage, when you live with your significant other for so many years, and your state considers you “married,” is becoming more and more popular. However, this wasn’t the case around 50 years ago. During the 1970s, many states had laws against living with your significant other before marriage. It wasn’t until 2013 when all 50 states adopted the law to allow couples to live together without getting married first.
1970s TRAX tennis shoes. Pinterest.
18. Women Couldn’t Purchase Athletic Shoes
The history of women in sports is different from the history of men in sports. While women usually purchase at least one pair of athletic shoes today, this was something women couldn’t buy until the end of the 1970s and into the early 1980s. The biggest reason for this was that women didn’t have a considerable spot in the sports world until around the 1970s. However, just because women didn’t have athletic shoes designed for them didn’t mean they didn’t buy the shoes. Instead of women’s shoes, they had to purchase athletic shoes designed for men.
A clip from the Mary Tyler Moore show. The 1970s Story.
17. Women Didn’t Really Have A Voice
Of course, females have always been able to talk, but this didn’t mean that the things they said had any impact on what people thought. While countless girls fought for women’s suffrage and other rights marches, most males, especially in professional careers, wouldn’t and didn’t have to listen to what girls had to say. This concept not only included their opinions on civil and household matters but also opinions for their own bodies. Typically, until around the 1970s, most women had to listen to their husband in how he wanted things down in his home.
Women at Radcliff Institute at Harvard. library.hbs.edu.
16. They Couldn’t Obtain A Degree In Women’s Studies
It wasn’t until 1956 when the Women Studies program came into existence in Australia. From there, the program slowly grew into other parts of the world. However, the United States’ colleges didn’t start catching on to women studies until the late 1960s. In 1969, Cornell University became the first college to offer women studies classes. A year later, San Diego State University established the first Women’s Studies Program in the United States. 1972 saw the establishment of Feminist Studies, and then 1977 saw the creation of the National Women’s Studies Association, which focuses on women’s history in education.
Woman in the 1970s. Vintag.es.
15. Women Weren’t Able To Get Any Job
Today, it’s hard to think about all the jobs women couldn’t get before the 1970s. Before women started demanding gender equality for jobs, women could only apply for specific positions, such as secretary or teacher. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 worked to end workplace discrimination; however, it continued in several states and among hundreds of professions. Even though employers couldn’t legally reject women for jobs because of their gender, they could reject women for other reasons. Some employers would skip applications by women while others would come up with a different reason for not hiring them.
It was not until the EEOC was actually enforced in 1982 that women were allowed to obtain professional jobs such as doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants, etc. and the courts would begin to enforce anti discrimination laws.
A wedding photo. vintage.es.
14. She Couldn’t Divorce Over Domestic Violence
Before the 1970s, getting divorced was difficult. Females had to prove that their husband had wronged them in order to obtain a divorce. However, proof didn’t mean that women would be able to get a divorce successfully. Some of the reasons, such as adultery, became acceptable. However, other reasons were not seen as acceptable, such as spousal abuse. Wives couldn’t officially protect themselves from domestic violence until the 1990s. However, starting in the 1970s, it became acceptable for a woman to ask for a divorce because of domestic violence.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee running for USA at the Olympics in the 1980s. STAFF / AFP / Getty Images / CBS News.
13. They Couldn’t Be A Part Of All Olympic Games
No matter how far women feel they still have to go for complete equality, no one can deny that they haven’t broken glass barriers throughout history, especially in the past 50 years. One of the obstacles that girls keep breaking is in the Olympic Games. While women started to participate in the Olympics during the early 1900s, their numbers and events began to grow considerably during the 1970s. In 1976, women added ice dancing, basketball, rowing and handball as events in the Olympics. Today, ladies are still adding games to their credits. In 2012, women could finally compete in boxing.
A vintage photo of an early Bank of America. Bank of America.
12. Women Couldn’t Own A Bank
Before the 1970s, career choices for ladies were scarce. However, this slowly started to change before the 1970s but boomed during the 1970s. One of the careers that became more available for women in the 1970s dealt with finances and banks. In 1975 the First Women’s Bank opened in New York City. This place became the first bank owned and operated by a woman for women. Of course, the law didn’t officially accept the bank right away, but it remained opened and is known as a significant milestone during the 1970s women’s rights movement.
A woman using an ATM for the first time. Pinterest.
11. Women Couldn’t Open A Bank Account
One reason women couldn’t legally own a bank before the 1970s is because they couldn’t legally open a bank account. Just like women couldn’t get a credit card without their husband’s signature, they couldn’t open a bank account without their husband’s permission. One of the reasons ladies couldn’t open their own bank account was because people believed they wouldn’t be able to handle the financial part. Men saw females as delicate creatures who couldn’t understand many of the things they could.
The Feminine Mystique. Amazon.
10. Women Couldn’t Discuss Sex Openly
It’s hard to think of this one today, but before the 1970s, women could not discuss their sex lives or anything having to do with sex openly. Of course, many females probably addressed the topic of sex privately to their friends, but it wasn’t acceptable to discuss in public. While it wasn’t illegal, many women often followed the rules of what people considered socially acceptable and what people didn’t. The woman and book that really changed the way women discussed sex is Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique.
A mother with her baby in the 1970s. Flashbak.
9. Women Couldn’t Breastfeed In Public
Realistically, breastfeeding in public is a controversial topic today. However, before the 1970s, this topic was not even a controversy because it simply wasn’t allowed. Mothers were not allowed to breastfeed their children in public. In fact, many places discriminated against mothers who breastfed as they worried it would happen in their business. The discrimination against breastfeeding mothers legally ended when Congress passed a law saying that a public place could not discriminate against women who breastfed as they saw it as a violation of their equality rights.
Females at school during the 70s. Reddit.
8. Females Couldn’t Receive An Equal Education
Women dealt with discrimination in education regularly. Not only weren’t they allowed to obtain a law degree or go to ivy league colleges before the late 1960s and into the early 1970s, but they faced discrimination in the educational setting in many other ways. By many men, women just couldn’t handle higher education. Some people actually felt that girls weren’t smart enough to obtain a certain level of education. For decades, some people felt women belonged in the kitchen more than they belonged in school. This idea created much discrimination and unequal treatment in the educational system.
Women walking in Hermosa Beach in the 1970s. Reddit.
7. They Couldn’t Adopt A Baby As A Single Woman
Women couldn’t do tons of things before the 1970s, and one of these things was they couldn’t adopt a baby if they didn’t have a male partner. Even though the majority of women before the 1970s stayed home and raised the children while their husband went to work, the lawmakers believed that they shouldn’t be able to adopt a baby without having a husband. Even if the single woman lived wealthy, remained healthy, and could give the child a great home, no one would allow her to because she was wasn’t married.
Katharine Graham, pictured in 1975, was the publisher of The Washington Post. Wikimedia Commons.
6. She Couldn’t Be The CEO OF A Fortune 500 Company
With all the rules, laws, and regulations surrounding women before the 1970s, it’s probably no shock that it took until the early 1970s for a woman to become the CEO of a Fortune 500 Company. Katharine Graham became the first female CEO in American history of a Fortune 500 Company when she took over The Washington Post in 1972. While what she did had never been illegal, this doesn’t take away the fact that Graham broke barriers for many other ladies.
Angela Davis in 1969. Bettmann / CORBIS.
5. They Couldn’t Have Their Own Mind
Of course, women actually had their own mind before the 1970s, but this didn’t mean that their intention was considered valuable. While women acquired certain tasks, they were tasks that men felt women were capable of doing, such as taking care of the children, cleaning the house, and cooking a meal. An example of this is the fact that wives needed their husbands’ permission to do many things, including getting a job. There are also examples of requiring a husband’s signature to obtain a credit card.
Nurses from the 1970s. Godmanchester County Primary School.
4. They Cared More About Education Than Marriage
Starting in the late 1960s and into early 1970s, women began to focus more on their higher education than getting married and starting a family right out of high school. This idea became a drastic change from a few years before when women often got married young because there wasn’t much for them in higher education. However, with ivy league colleges allowing women and more female professionals, higher education started to become more important than getting married after high school.
Ruth Bager Ginsburg in 1972. Jitter Bugged.
3. They Were Scarce in DC
While a few females found their spot in the political field, locally or nationally, before the 1970s politics and women were not a hot topic until the 1970s. In fact, the late 1960s and into the early 1970s saw an increase in women in the political field. In fact, in 1970, about a dozen women had their seat in Congress. On top of this, women had found their political position in their own neighborhoods and continued to write their names on ballots.
Women protesting the Miss America pageant in 1968. folkways.si.edu.
2. They Did Rally Against The Miss America Pageant
In 1968, many women from around the United States got together to protest the Miss America pageant. During this time, they complained because they wanted to be treated as people and not objects. They stated that the Miss America pageant promoted sexism. This opposition is the same mentality that females carried into the 1970s. Instead of feeling like a sexual object or a piece of property, women fought to be able to feel like they mattered and were human beings just like men.
Women’s Strike for Peace And Equality in 1970. Eugene Gordon / The New York Historical Society / Getty Images.
1. Women Fought For The Right To Protest
Before the late 1960s and into the early 1970s women rarely held marches and protests and if they did, these moments saw hostility from males and other females. It all started to change during the 1970s when men joined in on the women’s protests for their rights and equality matters. On top of this, ladies began protesting beyond the majority of discriminatory practices they faced in the United States. They protested for a variety of reasons throughout the United States. Something that wasn’t often seen in the United States previously.
Where Did We Find This Stuff? Here Are Our Sources:
“Landmark Cases: Roe Vs. Wade (1973).” Alex McBride. Thirteen.org.
“6 Things You Won’t Believe Women Couldn’t Do In 1970.” Suzannah Weiss, Bustle. December 2015.
“Women Officially Acknowledged in BAA Race.” Boston.com.
“10 Things That American Women Could Not Do Before the 1970s.” Natasha Turner, Ms. Magazine. May 2013.
“Things That American Women Couldn’t Do Until the 1970s.” Lisa Waugh, Ranker.
“First female West Point graduate reflects on historic anniversary.” Rachid Haoues, CBS Evening News. May 2015.
“Who’s to Blame for America’s Sexual Harassment Nightmare?” Mark Joseph Stern, Slate. October 2017.
“7 Shocking Things Women Weren’t Allowed to Do Until Pretty Recently.” Beth Dreher, Woman’s Day. August 2016.
“Crazy things women couldn’t do 50 years ago.” Adria Valdes Greenhauff, The List.
“Interracial Relationships that Changed History.” PBS.
“Things You Wouldn’t Believe Women Couldn’t Do Before The 1970s.” Brittany Greco, Rebel Circus. January 2016.
“Women’s Studies” Wikipedia.
“Participation of women in the Olympics.” Wikipedia.
In one of the first decisions of its kind, the 4th circuit has held that when a public official owns a FB page to conduct business, contact constiutents, and perform duties, it cannot block critics from posting on that page.
Phyllis Randall, Chair of the Loudoun County, Virginia, Board of Supervisors (the
“Loudoun Board”), brings this appeal, arguing that the district court erred in concluding
that she violated the First Amendment rights of one of her constituents, Brian Davison,
when she banned Davison from the “Chair Phyllis J. Randall” Facebook page she
administered. In a cross appeal, Davison principally argues that the district court erred
in dismissing his procedural due process claim premised on the ban. For the reasons that
follow, we affirm.
On her campaign page, Randall characterized the Chair’s Facebook Page as her
“county Facebook page” stating:
I really want to hear from ANY Loudoun citizen on ANY issues, request,
criticism, complement or just your thoughts. However, I really try to keep
back and forth conversations (as opposed to one time information items
such as road closures) on my county Facebook page (Chair Phyllis J.
Randall) or County email (Phyllis.email@example.com). Having back and
forth constituent conversations are Foiable ([Freedom of Information Act])
so if you could reach out to me on these mediums that would be
J.A. 455 (emphasis added).
To state a claim under Section 1983, a plaintiff must show that the alleged
constitutional deprivation at issue occurred because of action taken by the defendant
“under color of . . . state law.” Philips v. Pitt Cty. Mem’l Hosp., 572 F.3d 176, 180 (4th
Cir. 2009). “The traditional definition of acting under color of state law requires that the
defendant in a § 1983 action have exercised power ‘possessed by virtue of state law and
made possible only because the wrongdoer is clothed with the authority of state law.’”
West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 49 (1988) (quoting United States v. Classic, 313 U.S. 299,
326 (1941)). Section 1983’s “color-of-law prerequisite is synonymous with the more
familiar state-action requirement” applicable to Fourteenth Amendment claims, “and the
analysis for each is identical.” Pitt Cty. Mem’l Hosp., 572 F.3d at 180. Both inquiries
demand that “the conduct allegedly causing the deprivation of a federal right be fairly
attributable to the State.” Holly v. Scott, 434 F.3d 287, 292 (4th Cir. 2006) (quoting
Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co., Inc., 457 U.S. 922, 937 (1982)).
“[T]here is no specific formula for determining whether state action is present.”
Id. at 292 (internal quotation marks omitted). Rather, “[w]hat is fairly attributable [to the
state]”—i.e., what constitutes action under color of state law—“is a matter of normative
judgment, and the criteria lack rigid simplicity.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted).
Courts must examine the “totality of the circumstances,” id. (internal quotation marks
omitted), to determine if the action at issue “bore a ‘sufficiently close nexus’ with the
State to be ‘fairly treated as that of the State itself,’” Rossignol, 316 F.3d at 525 (quoting
Jackson v. Metro. Edison Co., 419 U.S. 345, 351 (1974)).
Although no one factor is determinative, this Court has held that a defendant’s
purportedly private actions bear a “sufficiently close nexus” with the State to satisfy
Section 1983’s color-of-law requirement when the defendant’s challenged “actions are
linked to events which arose out of his official status.” Id. at 524. When a defendant’s
“status” as a public official “enabled [her] to execute [a challenged action] in a manner
that private citizens never could have,” then the action also is more likely to be treated as
attributable to the state. Id. at 526; see also Martinez v. Colon, 54 F.3d 980, 986 (1st Cir.
1995) (“[S]ection 1983 is . . . implicated . . . [when] the conduct is such that the actor
could not have behaved in that way but for the authority of his office.”); Goldstein v.
Chestnut Ridge Volunteer Fire Co., 218 F.3d 337, 343 (4th Cir. 2000) (holding that
challenged conduct is more likely to amount to state action when “the injury caused is
aggravated in a unique way by the incidents of governmental authority” (internal
quotation marks omitted)). Likewise, an official’s conduct is more likely to amount to
state action when it “occurs in the course of performing an actual or apparent duty of his
office.” Martinez, 54 F.3d at 986. And the challenged action of a defendant
governmental official is likely to be treated as taken under color of law when the official
“use[d] the power and prestige of his state office to damage the plaintiff.” Harris v.
Harvey, 605 F.2d 330, 337 (7th Cir. 1979). In the context of an alleged First Amendment violation, in particular, this Court has found that a challenged action by a governmental official is fairly attributable to the state when “the sole intention” of the official in taking the action was “to suppress speech critical of his conduct of official duties or fitness for public office.” Rossignol, 316 F.3d at 524.
Randall clothed the Chair’s Facebook Page in “the power and prestige of h[er] state
office,” Harris, 605 F.2d at 337, and created and administered the page to “perform
actual or apparent dut[ies] of h[er] office,” Martinez, 54 F.3d at 986.
Under long-established First Amendment law, governmental entities are “strictly
limited” in their ability to regulate private speech in public fora. Pleasant Grove City,
Utah v. Summum, 555 U.S. 460, 469 (2009). The Supreme Court has recognized two
categories of public fora: “traditional public forums” and “limited (or designated) public
forums.” Am. Civil Liberties Union v. Mote, 423 F.3d 438, 443 (4th Cir. 2005).
“Traditional” public forums—“such as streets, sidewalks, and parks”—“have the
characteristics of a public thoroughfare, a purpose that is compatible with expressive
conduct, as well as a tradition and history of being used for expressive public conduct.”
Id. “Limited” or “designated” forums are forums that are “not traditionally public, but
[that] the government has purposefully opened to the public, or some segment of the
public, for expressive activity.” Id. Accordingly, the hallmark of both types of public
fora—what renders the fora “public”—is that the government has made the space
available—either by designation or long-standing custom—for “expressive public
conduct” or “expressive activity,” and the space is compatible with such activity. Id.
“Conversely, a non-public forum is one that has not traditionally been open to the public,
where opening it to expressive conduct would ‘somehow interfere with the objective use
and purpose to which the property has been dedicated.’” Id. (quoting Warren v. Fairfax
Cty., 196 F.3d 186, 190–91 (4th Cir. 1999)).
The Chair’s Facebook Page also is “compatib[le] with expressive activity.”
Cornelius, 473 U.S. at 802. “Congress [has] recognized the internet and interactive
computer services as offering ‘a forum for a true diversity of political discourse, unique
opportunities for cultural development, and myriad avenues for intellectual activity.’”
Zeran v. Am. Online, Inc., 129 F.3d 327, 330 (4th Cir. 1997) (quoting 47 U.S.C. §
230(a)(3)); cf. Bland, 730 F.3d at 386 (finding post to campaign Facebook page
“constituted pure speech”). And the Supreme Court recently analogized social media
sites, like the Chair’s Facebook Page, to “traditional” public forums, characterizing the
internet as “the most important place (in a spatial sense) for the exchange of views.”
Packingham v. North Carolina, 137 S. Ct. 1730, 1735 (2017). An “exchange of views”
is precisely what Randall sought—and what in fact transpired—when she expressly
invited “ANY Loudoun citizen” to visit the page and comment “on ANY issues,” and
received numerous such posts and comments. J.A. 455.
Even assuming the intangible space at issue is “private property,” as Randall
claims—which is not at all clear from the record before us4
—the Supreme Court never
has circumscribed forum analysis solely to government-owned property. For example, in
Cornelius, the Court recognized that forum analysis applies “to private property
dedicated to public use.” Cornelius, 473 U.S. at 801 (emphasis added); see also
Christian Legal Soc’y Chapter of the Univ. of Cal. v. Martinez, 561 U.S. 661, 679 (2010)
(“[T]his Court has employed forum analysis to determine when a governmental entity, in
regulating property in its charge, may place limitations on speech.” (emphasis added)).
Se. Promotions, Ltd. v. Conrad, 420 U.S. 546, 547, 555 (1975) (holding that “a privately
owned Chattanooga theater under long-term lease to the city” was a “public forum
designed for and dedicated to expressive activities”); Halleck v. Manhattan Community
Access Corp., 882 F.3d 300, 306–07 (2d Cir. 2018) (holding that public access television
channels operated by a private non-profit corporation constituted public forums), cert.
granted 139 S. Ct. 360 (2018) (mem.); First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City v. Salt
Lake City Corp., 308 F.3d 1114, 1122 (10th Cir. 2002) (“[F]orum analysis does not
require that the government have a possessory interest in or title to the underlying land.
Either government ownership or regulation is sufficient for a First Amendment forum of
some kind to exist.”); Freedom from Religion Foundation, Inc. v. City of Marshfield,
Wis., 203 F.3d 487, 494 (7th Cir. 2000) (holding that private property abutted by public
park constituted public forum).
Whereas “[p]ersonal-capacity suits seek to impose
personal liability upon a government official for actions [she] takes under color of state
law,” Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 165 (1985), “official capacity suits are ‘treated
as suits against the municipality,’” Santos v. Frederick Cty. Bd. of Comm’rs, 725 F.3d
451, 469 (4th Cir. 2013) (quoting Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 21, 25 (1991)). Because “municipal liability under Section 1983 does not amount to respondeat superior . . . a municipality is subject to Section 1983 liability only when its ‘policy or custom, whether made by its lawmakers or by those whose edicts or acts may fairly be said to represent official policy, inflicts the [plaintiff’s] injury.’” Id. at 469–70 (quoting Monell v. Dep’t of Soc. Servs. of the City of N.Y., 436 U.S. 658, 694 (1978)).
Davison is correct that “municipal liability may be imposed for a single decision
by municipal policymakers under appropriate circumstances.” Hunter v. Town of
Mocksville, N.C., 897 F.3d 538, 554 (4th Cir. 2018) (quoting Pembaur v. City of
Cincinnati, 475 U.S. 469, 480 (1986)). “[I]n assessing whether a municipality may be
held liable for constitutional or statutory violations of their decisionmakers, the
touchstone inquiry is whether ‘the decisionmaker possesses final authority to establish
municipal policy with respect to the action ordered.’” Id. at 554–55 (emphasis added)
(quoting Liverman v. City of Petersburg, 844 F.3d 400, 413 (4th Cir. 2016)).
the district court found that Randall
made a one-off, “unilateral decision to ban [Davison] in the heat of the moment, and
reconsidered soon thereafter,” Davison, 267 F. Supp. 3d at 715—before the Loudoun
Board had a chance to learn of her action. In such circumstances, the district court did
not reversibly err in rejecting Davison’s official capacity claim.
No court appears to have addressed that novel legal theory. And although the First
Amendment constrains only government policies, not policies established by private
entities, one can conceive of a colorable legal argument that a governmental actor’s
decision to select a private social media website for use as a public forum—and therefore
select that website’s suite of rules and regulations—could violate the First Amendment, if
the private website included certain types of exclusionary rules. For example, if the
government chose as its electronic public forum a social media site that allowed only
registered members of one political party to post and comment, there would seem to be a
compelling argument that the government’s selection of that social media site violated the
First Amendment rights of members of other political parties, even if the partisan
restriction was imposed by the private company, not the governmental body. Such a
restriction would be seem to be no different than a municipality choosing to hold a town
hall meeting in a venue that refused admission to individuals associated with a disfavored
political party or viewpoint. Cf. DeBoer v. Village of Oak Park, 267 F.3d 558, 571 (7th
Cir. 2001) (“[T]he government engages in viewpoint discrimination when it denies access
to a speaker solely to suppress the point of view he espouses on an otherwise includible
the Supreme Court should consider further the reach of the First
Amendment in the context of social media. I acknowledge that the Supreme Court has
referred to social media as “the modern public square,” Packingham v. North Carolina,
137 S. Ct. 1730, 1737 (2017), implying that First Amendment principles protecting
speech from government intrusion do extend to social media. However, the interplay
between private companies hosting social media sites and government actors managing
those sites necessarily blurs the line regarding which party is responsible for burdens
placed on a participant’s speech.
For example, hate speech is protected under the First Amendment. See Matal, 137
S. Ct. at 1763-64 (holding that the disparagement clause of the Lanham Act violated the
First Amendment free speech clause because it prohibited hate speech). But social media
companies like Facebook and others have policies forbidding hate speech on their
Thus, while a government official, who under color of law has opened a
public forum on a social media platform like Facebook, could not ban a user’s comment
containing hate speech, that official could report the hate speech to Facebook. And
Facebook personnel could ban the user’s comment, arguably circumventing First
In past years, kids would sit on a bench with a scowling secretary waiting to see the principal, now we have a jail like setting so I guess poor kids can get used to the mass incarceration problem in Illinois.
Unfreaking believable article. what amazes me is the fact a lot of these kids are autistic or special needs and there is no evaluation before using this “disciplinary technique” if it would harm a special needs child. Of course, it just looks like crapola for any child, but that’s a whole other issue.
The spaces have gentle names: The reflection room. The cool-down room. The calming room. The quiet room.
But shut inside them, in public schools across the state, children as young as 5 wail for their parents, scream in anger and beg to be let out.
The students, most of them with disabilities, scratch the windows or tear at the padded walls. They throw their bodies against locked doors. They wet their pants. Some children spend hours inside these rooms, missing class time. Through it all, adults stay outside the door, writing down what happens.
In Illinois, it’s legal for school employees to seclude students in a separate space — to put them in “isolated timeout” — if the students pose a safety threat to themselves or others. Yet every school day, workers isolate children for reasons that violate the law, an investigation by the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois has found.
Children were sent to isolation after refusing to do classwork, for swearing, for spilling milk, for throwing Legos. School employees use isolated timeout for convenience, out of frustration or as punishment, sometimes referring to it as “serving time.”
For this investigation, ProPublica Illinois and the Tribune obtained and analyzed thousands of detailed records that state law requires schools to create whenever they use seclusion. The resulting database documents more than 20,000 incidents from the 2017-18 school year and through early December 2018.
Of those, about 12,000 included enough detail to determine what prompted the timeout. In more than a third of these incidents, school workers documented no safety reason for the seclusion.
State education officials are unaware of these repeated violations because they do not monitor schools’ use of the practice. Parents, meanwhile, often are told little about what happens to their children.
The Tribune/ProPublica Illinois investigation, which also included more than 120 interviews with parents, children and school officials, provides the first in-depth examination of this practice in Illinois.
Because school employees observing the students often keep a moment-by-moment log, the records examined by reporters offer a rare view of what happens to children inside these rooms — often in their own words.
11:58 A.M., JAN. 11, 2018
FRESH START TREATMENT AND LEARNING CENTER, EFFINGHAM
“Please someone respond to me. … I’m sorry I ripped the paper. I overreacted. Please just let me out. Is anyone out there?”
Without doubt, many of the children being secluded are challenging. Records show school employees struggling to deal with disruptive, even violent behavior, such as hitting, kicking and biting. Workers say that they have to use seclusion to keep everyone in the classroom safe and that the practice can help children learn how to calm themselves.
But disability advocates, special-education experts and administrators in school systems that have banned seclusion argue that the practice has no therapeutic or educational value, that it can traumatize children — and that there are better alternatives.
No federal law regulates the use of seclusion, and Congress has debated off and on for years whether that should change. Last fall, a bill was introduced that would prohibit seclusion in public schools that receive federal funding. A U.S. House committee held a hearing on the issue in January, but there’s been no movement since.
Nineteen states prohibit secluding children in locked rooms; four of them ban any type of seclusion. But Illinois continues to rely on the practice. The last time the U.S. Department of Education calculated state-level seclusion totals, in 2013-14, Illinois ranked No. 1.
2:09 P.M., DEC. 11, 2017
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, MATTOON
“Please, please, please open the door. Please, I’ll be good. Open the door and I’ll be quiet.”
Although state law requires schools to file a detailed report each time they use seclusion, no one is required to read these accounts.
Several school district officials said they had not reviewed seclusion reports from their schools until reporters requested them. The Illinois State Board of Education does not collect any data on schools’ use of isolated timeout and has not updated guidelines since issuing them 20 years ago.
“Having a law that allows schools to do something that is so traumatic and dangerous to students without having some sort of meaningful oversight and monitoring is really, really troubling,” said Zena Naiditch, founder and leader of Equip for Equality, a disabilities watchdog group that helped write Illinois’ rules in 1999.
Informed of the investigation’s findings, the Illinois State Board of Education said it would issue guidance clarifying that seclusion should be used only in emergencies. Officials acknowledged they don’t monitor the use of isolated timeout and said they would need legislative action to do so.
DEC. 17, 2018
CENTRAL SCHOOL, SPRINGFIELD
“I’d rather die. You’re torturing me.”
This investigation, based on records from more than 100 districts, found seclusion was used in schools across every part of the state and by a range of employees, from teachers and aides to social workers and security personnel.
Some districts declined to provide records or gave incomplete information. Others wouldn’t answer even basic questions, saying the law did not require them to. Of more than 20 districts reporters asked to visit, only three said yes.
“Is this something that we’re ashamed of? It’s not our finest,” said Christan Schrader, director of the Black Hawk Area Special Education District in East Moline, which documented about 850 seclusions in the time period examined.
Schrader said she thinks her staff generally uses seclusion appropriately but acknowledged room for improvement. She met with reporters at the district’s administration building but wouldn’t let them see the seclusion rooms in the school across the parking lot.
“Nobody wants to talk about those things because it doesn’t reflect well,” she said.
‘I’M CRYING ALONE’
About 20 minutes after he was put in one of his school’s Quiet Rooms — a 5-foot-square space made of plywood and cinder block — 9-year-old Jace Gill wet his pants.
An aide, watching from the doorway, wrote that down in a log, noting it was 10:53 a.m. on Feb. 1, 2018.
School aides had already taken away Jace’s shoes and both of his shirts. Jace then stripped off his wet pants, wiped them in the urine on the floor and sat down in the corner.
“I’m naked!” Jace yelled at 10:56 a.m.
Staff did not respond, the log shows, except to close the door “for privacy.”
By 11 a.m., Jace had also defecated and was smearing feces on the wall. No adults intervened, according to the log. They watched and took notes.
“Dancing in feces. Doing the twist,” staff wrote at 11:14 a.m., noting that the boy then started pacing back and forth.
“I need more clothes,” he called out.
“We know,” an aide answered.
Jace banged on the walls and tried to pry open the door. He sat against the wall, crying for his mom.
11:42 a.m.: “Let me out of here. I’m crying alone.”
The incident began that morning when Jace ripped up a math worksheet and went into the hallway, trying to leave school.
Jace was diagnosed with autism when he was 3 and began having epileptic seizures at 5. In first grade, officials at his local school referred him to the Kansas Treatment and Learning Center, a public school in east-central Illinois for children with emotional and behavioral disabilities.
Jace’s mother, Kylee Beaven, had heard about the Quiet Rooms at Kansas and had strong reservations about the concept, even before she took a school tour and stepped inside one. She recalls being told he would never be shut inside alone.
“I remember standing there and thinking, like, if I was a kid, how would I feel if I was in this room by myself?” she said.
In the years Jace spent at the Kansas TLC, he was placed in the Quiet Rooms again and again — at least 28 times in the 2017-18 school year.
Once, he was shut in after he pushed a book off his desk, said “I hate reading,” raised his fist and tried to leave the classroom. Another day, he refused to get out of his grandmother’s car at school drop-off, so a staff member took him straight to a Quiet Room.
After he went into a Quiet Room on Feb. 1, a staff member took notes every one or two minutes. The handwritten incident report stretches nine pages on lined paper.
Jace spent more than 80 minutes in the room before someone stepped inside to hand him a change of clothes, wipes to clean his feet and some lunch. A mental-health crisis worker arrived to talk to him, but he wouldn’t answer her questions.
He was not released until his grandmother — his “Gammy” — came to pick him up at 2:07 p.m.
Jace’s mother remembers this incident, in part because she was surprised to learn that he had defecated in the room. Hadn’t she been told he wouldn’t be alone? When reporters showed her the lengthy report, she read and reread it for at least 20 minutes, tears falling onto the pages.
“I didn’t know it was like this. I didn’t know they wrote this all down,” Beaven said. “None of it should have happened.”
In the nearly 50,000 pages of reports reporters reviewed about Illinois students in seclusion, school workers often keep watch over children who are clearly in distress. They dutifully document kids urinating and spitting in fear or anger and then being ordered to wipe the walls clean and mop the floors.
Kansas TLC is operated by the Eastern Illinois Area Special Education district, which serves students from eight counties and is based in Charleston. Illinois has about 70 regional special-education districts that teach students who can’t be accommodated in their home districts.
Eastern Illinois officials ultimately released roughly 10,000 pages of records chronicling nearly 1,100 isolated timeouts. Analysis of those records shows more than half of seclusions there were prompted by something other than a safety issue.
When students at any of the three schools have been disrespectful or disruptive, they are required to take a “head down” — to lower their heads and remain silent for a set number of minutes. If they refuse, they often are sent to a Quiet Room — sometimes for hours — until they comply.
Zayvion Johnson, 15, remembers how it felt. He used to go to the Kansas school, too, and spent time in the same rooms as Jace.
“They told us it was there to help us, but it just made everybody mad,” said Zayvion, now a sophomore at Charleston High School who plays running back and middle linebacker on the football team. “The Quiet Room, it irritates people. … You’re isolated from everybody else. You can’t talk to anybody else.”
The Eastern Illinois district’s executive director, Tony Reeley, said he had not grasped how often seclusion was being used in his schools until he read some of the documents requested by reporters.
“Looking at a stack of 8,000 pages at one time really did kind of hit home,” Reeley said when he met with reporters in the spring. He has not responded to recent requests for comment, including about specific incidents.
Reeley and assistant director Jeremy Doughty said they were surprised and concerned about how frequently staff used seclusion rooms after students were disobedient but not physically aggressive.
“When we read it, it reads punitive,” Doughty said.
“We have to do something to address this,” said Reeley.
In October 2018, Jace died at home in rural Paris of a seizure in his sleep. He had not returned to Kansas TLC that fall; his family had decided to home-school him, in part to keep him out of the Quiet Rooms.
In the family’s living room, Jace’s mom shared photos of him at a Wiggles concert, in a Spider-Man costume, sitting on Santa’s lap. A favorite image features the family wearing “Team Jace” T-shirts at an autism walk; Jace’s shirt reads “I’m Jace.”
“He loved his dad and loved me and he loved his Gammy,” his mother said. “He had issues, but they weren’t his fault. He couldn’t control it.”
A BOY IN A PLYWOOD BOX
The plywood box in the middle of Ted Meckley’s special-education classroom was 3 feet wide, 3 feet deep and 7 feet tall. The schools around Pontiac had been using boxes to seclude students for years, and Ted, a nonverbal 16-year-old with developmental disabilities, was routinely shut inside.
In 1989, Ted’s mother, Judith, started speaking out. Newspapers published stories, people got upset, and the boxes were removed.
Judith Meckley joined a state task force to examine the use of seclusion. After a brief ban on the practice, the state Board of Education issued guidance and then, a few years later, rules that carried the weight of state law.
The Illinois rules accepted the need for seclusion, a practice already used in psychiatric hospitals and other institutional settings.
After Congress enacted a 1975 law guaranteeing a free public education to children with disabilities, the colleges and universities that trained teachers sought guidance from behavioral psychologists on how to manage these potentially challenging students.
At the time, some researchers favored using cattle prods and electric shock to discourage unwanted behavior. Another method was to move the misbehaving patient into an environment with fewer stimuli — someplace calmer.
“It gave a psychological justification for seclusion,” said Scot Danforth, a professor at Chapman University in California who studies the education of children with disabilities and believes seclusion is ineffective.
Illinois’ rules, now 20 years old, require that school employees constantly monitor the child and that they be able to see inside the room. Locks on the doors must be active, meaning they have to be continuously held in place. That’s so a child can’t be trapped during a fire or other emergency.
But the rules also cemented the use of seclusion in Illinois’ public schools.
“Essentially the regulations legitimized practices that place students at risk of serious harm and trauma,” said Naiditch, of Equip for Equality.
The Illinois law also lists reasons children can be physically restrained, a practice sometimes used in conjunction with seclusion. But the law is less precise about seclusion than about restraint, leaving room for misinterpretation by school officials.
“It makes it even more dangerous because schools are widely using it as punishment,” Naiditch said after reading some of the incident reports obtained by ProPublica Illinois and the Tribune.
School administrators who use seclusion say they need it to deal with students whose behavior is challenging, disruptive and, at times, dangerous.
“If (students are) committed to hurting someone, that room is a way to keep them safe,” said Alicia Corrigan, director of student services for Community Consolidated School District 15, which operates a therapeutic day program in Rolling Meadows for 40 students with disabilities.
Students there were secluded about 330 times in the time period reporters examined.
But “that’s the smallest part of our day,” Corrigan said. “That is not what we do all day.”
The Belleville Area Special Services Cooperative, near St. Louis, has two timeout rooms. Scratch marks are visible in the blue padding inside and on the windows in the heavy, locking doors.
The Belleville Area Special Services Cooperative, near St. Louis, allowed a photographer to visit two timeout rooms at Pathways school. The padded rooms have fluorescent lights and observation windows, which students have scratched. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune)
“Does it actually teach them anything or develop a skill? Absolutely not,” said Jeff Daugherty, who heads the cooperative. He allowed journalists to tour the Pathways school and see timeout rooms. “It’s never pleasant. I do believe it’s a necessary tool for our line of work with our students.”
The U.S. Department of Education warned in 2012 that secluding students can be dangerous and said that there is no evidence it’s effective in reducing problematic behaviors.
A few school districts in Illinois prohibit seclusion, including Chicago Public Schools, which banned it 11 years ago. But these districts often send students with disabilities to schools that do use it, such as those operated by most of Illinois’ special-education districts.
Danforth said seclusion goes unexamined because it largely affects students with disabilities.
To put children in timeout rooms, “you really have to believe that you’re dealing with people who are deeply defective. And that’s what the staff members tell each other. … You can do it because of who you’re doing it to.”
Ted Meckley, whose experiences in Pontiac’s timeout box as a teenager helped change the practice of seclusion, is now 45 and living in a group home. When a reporter told his mother that seclusion still is widely used, she gasped.
“No!” Meckley said. “My goodness. That is the most discouraging thing. I spent six years of my life fighting on this very issue. It’s so discouraging to think that, 25 years later, here we are. No progress.”
In fact, reporters identified several schools that have added more seclusion rooms in the past year or so. North Shore School District 112 converted two coat closets to isolation rooms. The McLean district in Normal opened two rooms in an elementary school.
And at Dirksen Elementary School in Schaumburg, two new 6-by-6 rooms are in use. They’re called “resolution rooms.”
THE REVOLVING DOOR
By 8:35 a.m. on Dec. 19, 2017, all five of the timeout “booths” at Bridges Learning Center near Centralia were already full. School had been in session for five minutes.
Each booth is about 6 by 8 feet, with a steel door. That day, one held a boy who had hung on a basketball rim and swore at staff when they told him to stop. In another, a boy who had used “raised voice tones.”
Two boys were being held because they hadn’t finished classwork. Inside the fifth room was a boy who had tried to “provoke” other students when he got off a bus. Staff told him he’d be back again “to serve 15 minutes every morning due to his irrational behavior.”
None of those reasons for seclusion is permitted under Illinois law.
Yet, over the course of that one day, the rooms stayed busy, with two turning over like tables in a restaurant, emptying and refilling four times. The other three were occupied for longer periods, as long as five hours for the boy who hung off the basketball rim. In all, Bridges staff isolated students 20 times.
Seclusion is supposed to be rare, a last resort. But at Bridges, part of the Kaskaskia Special Education District in southern Illinois, and at many other schools, it is often the default response.
Bridges used seclusion 1,288 times in the 15 months of school that reporters examined. The school has about 65 students.
According to the Tribune/ProPublica Illinois analysis of Bridges records, 72% of the seclusions were not prompted by a safety issue, as the law requires.
“There were kids there every day,” said Brandon Skibinski, who worked as a paraprofessional at Bridges for part of the 2018-19 school year. “I didn’t think that was the best practice. I don’t know what the best practices are, though.”
Cassie Clark, who heads the Kaskaskia Special Education District, did not respond to requests for comment about the district’s practices.
Stuck in seclusion
In Illinois, seclusion is meant to be used for safety purposes, not to punish students. Isolated timeouts also must end no more than 30 minutes after a student’s unsafe behavior stops. But records show some schools did not release children until they apologized or performed a task; others referred to childen “serving time.”
In nearly 6,000 of the incidents reporters analyzed from schools across the state, students were secluded only because they were disruptive, disrespectful, not following directions, not participating in class or a combination of those reasons.
“That is clearly not good practice,” said Kevin Rubenstein, president of the Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education, which represents 1,200 public and private special-education administrators in the state. “To the extent there is bad practice going on across the state, we need to fix that.”
The Kaskaskia district’s revolving-door use of the timeout booths stands out, but some other districts seclude children nearly as frequently.
The Special Education District of Lake County used isolated timeout about 1,200 times over the 15-month period reporters examined. Northern Suburban Special Education District in Highland Park put children in seclusion more than 900 times.
Some traditional school districts also relied on seclusion. For example, Valley View School District 365U in Romeoville and Schaumburg District 54 each secluded students more than 160 times in the time period examined. Wilmette District 39 put students in isolated timeout 361 times in 2017-18 alone.
Illinois’ seclusion rules are more permissive than federal guidelines, which say seclusion should be used only in cases of “imminent danger of serious physical harm.” In Illinois, children can be secluded for physical safety concerns regardless of the threat level.
The state law also doesn’t encourage staff to try other interventions first. And while federal officials suggest that seclusion should end as soon as the problematic behavior stops, Illinois law allows a child to be secluded for up to 30 minutes more.
Even with these looser rules, the ProPublica Illinois/Tribune investigation found that Illinois schools regularly flout and misinterpret state law.
Some schools use seclusion — or the threat of it — as punishment. At the Braun Educational Center in south suburban Oak Forest, a classroom door features a sign saying: “If you walk to the door or open it you WILL earn” a visit to the “isolation and reflection” space. The school’s director said the sign is not a threat but a visual reminder that leaving is a violation of school rules.
Others won’t release children from seclusion until they apologize or sit against a wall or put their heads down. The Tri-County Special Education district in Carbondale routinely made children write sentences as a condition of release, records show. Students there often were kept in isolation long after the safety threat was over, sometimes even starting their next school day in a timeout room. Tri-County Director Jan Pearcy told reporters those practices ended this year.
Seclusion rooms: Four examples
Some Illinois schools provided images of their timeout rooms in response to public-records requests. The red buttons are commonly used to engage magnetic locks; to protect a child from being trapped, the buttons must be held down for the locks to work. Staffers also must be able to see inside the room.
Administrators in some districts have decided that putting a child in a room is not an isolated timeout if there is no door or the door is left open — even though the student is being blocked from leaving. State law does not say an isolated timeout requires a closed door.
“We only consider something isolated timeout if a student is in the room with the door shut and magnet (lock) held,” said Kristin Dunker, who heads the Vermilion Association for Special Education in Danville. “I understand this isn’t going to look good for us.”
At Bridges, records show how staff violated the state’s rules. Schools aren’t supposed to put students in seclusion for talking back or swearing, but Bridges did repeatedly. Workers also shut many students in booths for hours after the child’s challenging behavior ended.
One boy argued with Bridges workers as they tried to force him into isolation in March 2018 for being uncooperative. “I don’t want to go in a booth,” he said. “You’ll lock me in there all day.”
He was kept in the booth for nearly five hours.
Laura Myers saw Bridges’ timeout booths during school meetings and told administrators they should never be used on her 6-year-old son, Gabriel. A tiny, giggly boy with bright red hair, Gabriel has autism and is nonverbal, though he can sign a few words, including “blue,” “green” and “truck.”
“There’s a metal bench, the lock and key, the whole nine,” Myers said. “The sad part is there are parents there who don’t know it’s wrong and don’t know how their children are being treated.”
She was assured Gabriel would not be secluded. But she started to worry when he came home signing “timeout.” Now, she’s fighting for a different school placement.
HARM TO CHILDREN
Darla Knipe could hear it when she walked toward the timeout room in her son’s school: a thudding sound, over and over.
She turned to a school aide and asked: “‘What is that noise?’”
It was her 7-year-old son, Isaiah. The first grader was banging his head against the concrete and plywood walls of the timeout room at Middlefork School in Danville. Knipe was shocked. He didn’t do that at home, she said.
Documents from Isaiah’s school, part of the Vermilion Association for Special Education, show that he was put in the timeout room regularly beginning in kindergarten. He started banging his head in first grade and continued through third, doing it nearly every time he was secluded.
“Isaiah states he has headache and ringing in his ears,” according to a report from Dec. 8, 2017. “Nurse filling out concussion form.”
Then, a month later: “Nurse is concerned he has been head banging several times, even slower to answer than usual, he was dizzy when he stood up, almost fell over.”
Sitting in his home last spring, Isaiah, now 10, looked down when asked why he hits his head.
“I tell the teachers why,” he said. “The timeout room … I don’t like it.”
Records and interviews show how seclusion can harm children. Students ripped their fingernails or bruised their knuckles hitting the door. Their hands swelled and bled from beating the walls. In some cases, children were hurt so badly that ambulances were called.
Several parents said their children became afraid of school. Some said their children didn’t want to sleep alone. Other families said the rooms were so distressing that their children would not talk about them.
Angie Martin said her 9-year-old son now sees himself as such a bad child that he believes he belongs in seclusion. In less than three weeks at the start of this school year, he spent 731 minutes — more than 12 hours — in isolated timeout, records show.
“My concern is the damage that has been done, socially, emotionally and physically,” said Martin, whose son went to school in the Lincoln-Way Area Special Education district program in Chicago’s southwest suburbs. He now attends a private school.
The Tribune/ProPublica Illinois analysis found that the median duration of a seclusion was 22 minutes; in at least 1,300 cases the student spent more than an hour in isolated timeout.
One incident lasted 10 hours, with the student kept inside from breakfast into the evening.
Ross Greene, a clinical child psychologist and author of the book “The Explosive Child,” said repeated seclusion fuels a harmful cycle. Children who are frustrated and falling behind academically are taken out of the classroom, which makes them more frustrated and puts them even further behind.
“You end up with an alienated, disenfranchised kid who is being over-punished and lacks faith in adults,” Greene said.
Amber Patz, whose 11-year-old son Dalton was repeatedly secluded at The Center, an elementary school in East Moline for children with disabilities, said spending so much time in isolation put him behind academically and did not help him regulate his behavior.
“Putting you in this little room while you get red-faced does not work for him,” she said. “You have to think outside the box, but instead we are literally putting them in a box.”
Parents often do not know the details of what happens in seclusion. Though state law requires schools to notify families in writing within 24 hours each day a child is secluded, that doesn’t always happen.
While some notices describe the incident, others are form letters with just a checked box to indicate that a child was secluded. The law requires only that parents be notified of the date of the incident, whether restraint or seclusion was used, and the name and phone number of someone to call for more information.
Some parents said they got such abbreviated notices they didn’t know what seclusion meant or how long their child had been in a room. Others said staff used euphemistic language to describe seclusion, making it hard to understand what really happened.
Crystal Lake school employees have suggested to Kayla Siegmeier that her son, Carson, who has autism, might benefit from time in a “Blue Room,” she said.
“It turns out the Blue Room is a locked, padded room,” she said.
She read Illinois’ isolated timeout law and got a doctor’s note last year that prevented the school from secluding Carson, now a second grader. “Hard stop,” she said she told the school.
Crystal Lake school officials acknowledged they could be more transparent with parents and said they use the rooms only in emergencies.
In Danville, Darla Knipe knew that her son Isaiah was frequently in seclusion, but she didn’t know the school kept detailed incident reports each time it happened until reporters showed them to her.
“I never got anything like this,” Knipe said.
When she requested the reports from the district, she said, officials told her she could have asked for them any time. “Why would I ask for an incident report I didn’t know about to begin with?” she said.
The district gave her 212 reports, and she didn’t tackle the huge pile of paper right away. Then one night she woke up at 2 a.m. and stayed up for hours reading them. She learned what set Isaiah off and how he reacted.
“If we had talked after three, five, six of these, was there something I should have been doing?” she wondered.
She said she would have shared the reports with doctors who were working to diagnose the cause of his behavioral challenges. “I think about how different that boy could have been.”
Dunker, the district director, said that although parents don’t get minute-by-minute reports, they are notified by phone and then in writing after a seclusion. “I feel like that is just fine in terms of what a parent needs,” she said.
A BETTER WAY
There are school districts in Illinois — and all across the country — where seclusion isn’t the response to defiant or even aggressive behavior. In fact, it’s never an option.
Jim Nelson, who took over the North DuPage Special Education Cooperative in July 2016, said he put in a maintenance request on his first day to take the door off the seclusion room at Lincoln Academy, a therapeutic day school for students with emotional and behavioral difficulties.
The year before, the school in suburban Roselle, which has an enrollment of about 30, had placed students in the room 181 times, federal data shows. The space now has a lava lamp, fuzzy pillows, a beanbag and puzzles, and students go there on their own when they need a break, Nelson said.
He said he thinks all schools could get rid of seclusion and still be able to educate students. Since ending the practice, the North DuPage district has not seen an increase in the number of students transferred to more restrictive schools, he said.
“We have outbursts every day,” Nelson said, but “you are now trying to figure out what is the root of this outburst: Is it a home issue, a bus issue, a peer issue, a relationship issue, environment or fluorescent lights? We have to problem solve.”
Through the eyes of a child
Very few Illinois public schools allowed reporters or photographers to view the spaces they use for isolated timeout. So reporters who met with the families of secluded students invited children to draw their impressions of the rooms.
Administrators at schools that have closed their rooms say the cultural shift takes a lot of effort and training.
Eliminating seclusion generally requires two steps: first, embracing the philosophy that isolating children is unacceptable; second, teaching staff members how to identify and address the causes of challenging behavior before it reaches a crisis point.
Zac Barry, who teaches a system based at Cornell University called Therapeutic Crisis Intervention, said staff often get into a power struggle when students don’t obey, even over trivial matters.
“Don’t argue with them,” Barry said at a recent training session in Peoria for people who work with children. “If they don’t want to sit down, don’t try to make them sit down!”
Among other strategies, TCI teaches that it’s more effective to back away from an upset student, giving him space, than to move in closer. Teachers are trained how to stand in a nonthreatening way.
In Naperville School District 203, the rooms formerly used for isolated timeout are now sensory areas stocked with weighted stuffed animals and sound-blocking headphones.
Christine Igoe, who oversees special education in the 16,000-student district, said eliminating seclusion helps teachers and other staffers build relationships with students. Without seclusion as an option, she said, students and staff are less likely to be on high alert and anxious that situations will escalate.
“When you change your lens from ‘the student is making a choice’ to ‘the student is lacking a skill,’ everything changes,” Igoe said.
How do you feel?
The Kansas Treatment and Learning Center is among the schools that require secluded students to participate in a debriefing with staff members. Sometimes students cannot leave until they complete a “think sheet” describing how they feel and how they will behave better next time.
Kim Sanders, executive vice president of the Grafton behavioral health network in Virginia, which includes private therapeutic day schools, said schools there overhauled their approach after employees were injured in confrontations with students so frequently that the district lost its workers’ compensation insurance.
“Our outcomes were not great,” she said. “It was horrible for our staff morale.”
Since then, Grafton has developed a behavior model called Ukeru that it now sells to other schools. It’s based on the idea that staff should attempt to comfort, not control, children. When a child becomes violent, the system suggests staff use cushioned shields to protect themselves.
“If seclusion or restraint worked,” Sanders said, “wouldn’t you have to do it once or twice and you’d never have to do it again? It’s not working.”
LITTLE KIDS, LOCKED AWAY
Illinois schools secluded an 8-year-old boy who got upset when he couldn’t ride the green bike during recess, a first grade boy who didn’t want to stop playing tag and a third grader who didn’t get the prize he wanted.
Even preschool children spent time in isolated timeout, records show.
The majority of incident reports reviewed for this investigation did not specify the grade of the child. But ProPublica Illinois and the Tribune identified more than 1,700 incidents when the student being secluded was in fifth grade or younger. Hundreds of seclusions involved kids in preschool, kindergarten or first grade.
One 7-year-old boy named Eli spent 1,652 minutes — 27½ hours — in the “reflection rooms” as a first grader at a school called The Center in East Moline, school records show.
Still learning to say some of his letters, Eli calls the spaces the “flection” rooms. When his mom, Elisha, gently corrects him, he snuggles into her side. “It’s hard to really say,” he explained.
Eli was referred to The Center, which offers a program for children with behavioral and emotional disabilities, when he was in kindergarten. Records show he sometimes had trouble coping with the frustrations of elementary school — not unlike many other Illinois children who were secluded after outbursts common for their age.
When staff told him he couldn’t play with toys, he started to tip desks and chairs. Because he didn’t want to come inside from recess, he began “flopping,” refused to walk and was “being unsafe.” He “could not continue to play nice” with blocks and started to hit and tried to run out of class. Sometimes, he would kick staff or throw objects around the room.
According to records from the school district and his family, Eli was secluded more than a dozen times in kindergarten, beginning when he was 5. In first grade, it happened 49 times. His longest timeout was 115 minutes.
“There is no reason my child should be in a timeout room for two hours,” said his mother, who asked that the family’s last name not be published.
Elisha pulled her son out of The Center at the end of last school year after noticing bruises on his arm and a fingernail indentation that broke the skin. Records show Eli was physically restrained by three staff members and put in isolated timeout that day. He now attends a private school.
Schrader, director of the Black Hawk Area Special Education District, which operates The Center in northwestern Illinois, said staff at the school use the seclusion room “on a case-by-case basis, incident by incident” to help students learn strategies to calm themselves. She declined to comment on Eli’s case or that of any specific child.
“We use it more as a way to help the student learn to deescalate themselves and constant supervision to maintain their safety,” she said.
When a reporter asked Eli whether the calm down rooms helped him calm down, he shook his head no.
How did he feel when in the room?
“Mad,” he said quietly.
The seclusion rooms inside Braun Educational Center in Oak Forest look like so many others across Illinois: blue padding along the walls, a small window where staff can look in. The red button outside that locks the door. A mirror in the upper corner to give a fuller view.
In one room, three long tear marks were visible in the padding of the door — left there, the principal said, by a student with autism.
About 150 elementary through high school students with disabilities attend programs at Braun, which is operated by the Southwest Cook County Cooperative Association for Special Education. Gineen O’Neil, the co-op’s executive director, described many as troubled and challenging; some are homeless, abuse drugs, get pregnant or struggle with mental illness, she said. Some, she said, “run the streets” at night.
“People have to realize they get educated somewhere, and this is where it is,” O’Neil said.
Over 1½ school years, staffers isolated students nearly 500 times. O’Neil said students are not secluded as punishment.
But the Tribune/ProPublica Illinois analysis found that in 46% of seclusions at Braun, staff documented no safety reason that preceded the isolation. O’Neil said some of these incidents could have involved a safety issue despite the lack of documentation, but she also described the findings as “disturbing” and ordered a review of practices.
“You are making 1,000 judgment calls a day, you know what I mean?” O’Neil said. “You don’t always call them right.”
On a recent Friday afternoon, it was quiet in the halls. Most of the children had gathered to watch a movie and eat popcorn. They had earned the reward for good behavior.
But one boy didn’t qualify — and he was mad. The principal, Kristine Jones, said that after the rest of his class left for the movie, he shouted: “This place sucks. I’m leaving.”
He didn’t actually leave. But the boy was a “runner” when upset, Jones said, and they wanted to “pre-correct” his behavior.
So they took him to an isolation room.
Jennifer Smith Richards has been a reporter at the Chicago Tribune since 2015. Jennifer has a specialty in data analysis and previously covered schools and education for more than a decade at newspapers in Huntington, West Virginia; Utica, New York; Savannah, Georgia, and Columbus, Ohio. Her work has touched on everything from sexual abuse in schools to police accountability to school choice. Contact Jennifer by email and on Twitter.
Jodi S. Cohen is a reporter for ProPublica Illinois, where she has revealed misconduct in a psychiatric research study at the University of Illinois at Chicago, exposed a college financial aid scam and uncovered flaws in the Chicago Police Department’s disciplinary system. Previously, Jodi worked at the Chicago Tribune for 14 years, where she covered higher education and helped expose a secret admissions system at the University of Illinois, among other investigations. Contact Jodi by email and on Twitter.
Lakeidra Chavis is the reporting fellow for ProPublica Illinois. Previously, Lakeidra was a producer for WBEZ’s News Desk (Chicago Public Media), where she reported an in-depth piece on how Chicago’s black communities have been impacted by the opioid crisis. Contact Lakeidra by email and on Twitter.
Zbigniew Bzdak joined the Chicago Tribune as a staff photographer in 2002. His assignments included the war in Iraq, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the 2008 campaign of President Barack Obama and the first 100 days his first term. He left his native Poland to photograph kayaking expeditions exploring white-water rivers in Mexico and Peru. Contact Zbigniew by email or on Instagram.
Additional data analysis by Haru Coryne and data reporting by Kaarin Tisue, Nicole Stock, Brenda Medina and David Eads; additional research by Doris Burke; visual presentation by Agnes Chang, Jonathon Berlin, Chad Yoder, Vignesh Ramachandran, Sisi Wei, Jemal R. Brinson and Andrew Johnston.
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A Montgomery County mother was held in contempt of court on Tuesday while she had a full-blown seizure during her child custody proceeding. Deputies appeared to think she was faking it, according to a witness.
The woman has a valid and documented seizure disorder, KYW Newsradio confirmed, and even brought a medical advocate to court to help her. However, when the woman seized in court in front of Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy, deputies picked her up mid-seizure and arrested her.
The woman’s advocate made the judge aware of her disorder.
“She said ‘OK’ and then proceeded to rule based on contempt of court that she’s finding (her) … under arrest immediately,” said the witness, who preferred not to be named, “at which time all the deputies in the courtroom swarmed us.”
She said deputies cuffed the mother while she was unresponsive in her seat.
“(They) raised her to her feet, which you can’t do when someone’s having a seizure; they can’t support themselves,” she continued. “She just crumbled to the ground. It’s a concrete floor.”
She was concerned the woman hit her head on the floor.
“I couldn’t see completely what happened; didn’t look like anyone attempted to break her fall,” she added. “I heard the one deputy say, ‘Oh, come on. Stop messing around.’”
She could not recall if deputies read the mother her rights. Regardless, she said it would have been impossible for her to understand or respond to them mid-seizure.
KYW Newsradio’s Brian McDonough gives his opinion on why it’s important to take someone’s symptoms seriously.
Cross said the DCFS first entered his world about 30 days ago. But that month has felt like a year – and one specific night felt like an eternity.
“Seven o’clock, the people come,” he said.
The people in question are two DCFS contracted drivers in a large van, who pulled up in the back of a youth home on the South Side. The date was Oct. 1, and Cross was being moved.
“They put me in handcuffs. I was wondering why. I was asking, like, why do I got to get in handcuffs?” Cross said. “And they didn’t say nothing. They just said they got to do it.”
Handcuffs, though, were just the half of it. Cross said he was locked in the shackles with his wrists crossed in front of him, and then a chain going down to his feet – forcing him to walk in lock-step.
“It was messed up,” Cross said.
When youth home staff called DCFS headquarters to ask if such treatment was really necessary, headquarters said yes.
“They just said it’s over their powers – that’s all they told the lady,” Cross said.
So Cross was locked down and moved to the suburbs.
“I kind of knew I wasn’t getting locked up because these are regular people,” Cross said. “They weren’t even the police.”
Until CBS 2 stepped in, DCFS made no comment on the shackling. In the days since our report, the organization has acknowledged it was “totally unacceptable” and “against policy.”
”One thing is that they have affirmatively put out there that they’re not going to be using shackles or mechanical restraints,” said Alpa Patel, Chief Deputy for the Cook County Public Guardian’s Office.
But Cross has his doubts.
“They’re just talking. They’re just talking,” he said.
A judge on Thursday did rule that the process of shackling must stop for good. So-called soft restraints – which are made of cloth – can only be used when a judge or a psychiatrist orders it, and two senior staffers from the DCFS green-light it.
Jawan, who just turned 18, said he can’t wait for the DCFS to be out of his life for good.
Kane County Judges involved: Judge John Dalton (gave custody to a dangerous psychopath and refused to hear Kara say TB was a violent rapist and abuser and Judge Renee Cruz who got the case after Dalton recused himself in late October and she put off all of Kara’s motions to vacate the gag orders, return her kids to her and dismiss the parentage order) Call them and demand they return custody to Kara and tell them what you think about handing 2 precious angels over to a dangerous psychopath just because mom blogged about the case because the court was doing the wrong thing and failing her.
Kane county court system: 630-232-5820
Summary of facts: Kara Witkowski was abused by her ex partner for years. His name is Thomas Biel. Earlier in 2019, after being thrown out by Kara for his abuse, he told Kara it was his birthday and he raped her. She filed for a Protective Order and went to police. In retaliation, he filed a Parentage Order. She told the court about all TB’s abuse and how he had raped her in the past and how he was violent and abusive. The court ordered psych evals. Kara’s came back she had PTSD from the rapes and abuse and nothing else. TB’s psych eval came back he was a psychopath and very dangerous person (I do not have a copy of that, this is from Kara).
Kara blogged about her case and the judge, litigants and GAL got mad and gave TB more and more parenting time, until she was left with just a few hours per week with an agency that would cost her $1800 per month to see her 2 kids.
TB admitted to raping Kara in text messages. He also possessed tons of child porn. This was turned over to Kane County police and they have done nothing.
Her rape test came back last week. TB told her numerous times in the past he would kill her. He also said in the past he would kill the kids, or implied it.
Some months ago, the 2yo boy had a prolapsed rectum. Kara reported to the court and they said it was constipation. Later it was found out the 4yo girl saw the grandfather (this is a family of abusers), put a toothbrush up the 2yo’s rectum and she begged the grandfather to take it out.
The 4yo is at risk of also being killed.
Kara’s calls to DCFS and the police have gone no where, but they say the 2yo’s death is under investigation.
Please, please call DCFS and demand that they return the 4yo girl right away to Kara.
You can friend Kara on FB Kara Witkowski and leave messages there after you call the police and DCFS to demand an apology and the child’s return.
This is just horrible. I will be publishing the pleadings as proof of this mess.
I have 3 attorneys working on this case now, but if you know of more that will put the safety of a mother and 4 yo girl over being paid, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It will likely take a team of attorneys to get this mother and 4yo safe.
Many 911 calls are for overdoses, severe drunkeness, mental health crises, family disputes, and other emergencies that should not involve police. Thank heavens that some communities recognize this and are assembling mental health teams to de escalate heated situations which do not involve real crimes, just families and people out of control in a safe secure manner that helps people and families.
An alternative to police: Mental health team responds to emergencies in Oregon
For immediate help if you are in a crisis, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All calls are confidential.
Eugene, Oregon — When a mental health-related 911 call comes in, a specialized team in Eugene, Oregon, rolls out.
“Pretty much everybody we see is for one reason or another is in a state of crisis,” said Manning Walker.
Walker is a medic and Laurel Lisovskis is a mental health crisis manager. The pair are members of a mobile mental health crisis intervention team called CAHOOTS, which stands for Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets. They answer calls like suicide interventions and overdoses. They’re unarmed and most of the time, without police backup.
“We always move as a team,” Lisovskis said.
They took CBS News on an exclusive ride along. Their first call was for a woman they’ve met before, who they believe is schizophrenic. She said her name was Kayla.
“I like CAHOOTS. They help you in your time of need. When you are hungry and certain things like that,” she said.
CAHOOTS was founded in 1989. Last year, they responded to nearly 23,000 calls in Eugene and Springfield, Oregon. Denver is starting its own version of CAHOOTS. City leaders from Oakland, Olympia, Washington and even New York City are all considering similar pilot programs.
“We handle almost 20% of the entire public safety call volume for our area,” said Tim Black, Eugene’s CAHOOTS program manager. “But there was such a dramatic need coming in through the 911 and non-emergency lines that there was a need for there to be this kind of behavioral health first response.”
CAHOTOS team members are trained to de-escalate when responding to a mental health crisis. A recent study found 25 to 50% of fatal officer-involved shootings involved someone with a severe mental illness.
“They don’t need jail. What they need is they need to be able to be de-escalated from their crisis, they need a ride to a mental-health facility or to a medical-care facility or wrapped around with services. That’s what the people need. They don’t need to be going to jail every time,” said Eugene Police Chief Chris Skinner.
It’s a new way to protect and serve — and maybe save a life.
If you or a member of your family have experienced elder abuse in a highly flawed guardianship system, you should be aware that you’re not an isolated case or a helpless victim.
Elder abuse by opportunistic court guardians is one of those issues in American society that has reached critical mass in recent years, and some statistics indicate that it might soon achieve a dubious parity with child abuse.
In 2016, the General Accountability Office in Washington examined the state-based guardianship system and found hundreds of cases of physical and financial abuse, and negligence throughout the country. According to The New York Times, the GAO reported that “in eight cases examined in six states, guardians were found to have stolen more than $600, from their elderly wards.” And from 1990 to 2010, the GAO reported, guardians in 20 cases stole $5.4 million.
But it took a New Yorker piece in 2017 to define the scourge of elder abuse in a way that got the public attention it deserved. How did the magazine accomplish that? By focusing on a Las Vegas, Nevada guardian named April Parks who’s attained a sad distinction: she’s become a poster child for elder abuse in this country, and last January she drew a long and deserved prison sentence for her systematic criminality.
Parks’ predatory strategy was exemplified in the case of a Las Vegas couple in their late 70’s named Rudy and Rennie North. The Norths had some health problems, but were comfortable in their home in an adult community. They’d been married 57 years. But Parks learned of their apparent vulnerability and got herself appointed as their guardian. She had the Norths declared incompetent, moved them into an assisted living facility not nearly as nice as their home, and took over management of their assets as a profit-making legal maneuver. She spent all their money (an unknown amount) and the Norths became totally dependent on their daughter, who had fought hard against Parks’ machinations.
Parks’ conviction brought her the maximum sentence possible: 16-40 years. Victims testified at her trial about losing their life savings and feeling like victims under Parks’ care. Said one victim: “April Parks is a predator of the worst kind.”
Parks claimed in her own testimony that she always had a passion for guardianship and cared about her clients. But, said Judge Tierra Jones, “you told us you never meant any harm. But after hearing stories of people Scotch-taping their shoes, people being charged for Christmas gifts, how is that no harm?”
A good question. And if you find yourself or someone you know in a guardianship situation that leads you to ask the same question, don’t hesitate to go to the authorities and/or seek legal counsel immediately. The Department of Justice has an elder justice coordinator in each of its 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices, in accordance with the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act—enacted in October 2017. The guardianship system is now on trial and you need to take advantage of that.
It was only a matter of time before President Donald Trump made headlines again over periods.
Just four years ago, in August 2015, he accused then–Fox News correspondent Megyn Kelly after the first presidential debate of having “blood coming out of her wherever.” The charge landed the once-taboo topic of menstruation smack in the middle of election coverage—and on the front page of nearly every major national and small-town newspaper in between. It even generated its own viral hashtag, #PeriodsAreNotAnInsult.
Now, 19 states filed a lawsuit in California this week against the Trump administration for the indefinite detention of and conditions endured by migrant children and their families. Among the charges of hygiene deprivation for children detained at the border—including the alleged lack of basics like toothpaste and bars of soap—is insufficient access to menstrual products and care. Testimony in the lawsuit included that: “Girl(s) at the facility…were each given one sanitary pad per day. Although the guards knew they had their periods, they were not offered showers or a change of clothes, even when the other girl visibly bled through her pants.”
For over a year now, the news of babies torn from parents has been devastating to absorb. And the detailed accounts of children’s days and nights in detention—of stench and filth, teens tending to toddlers, preschoolers appearing solo in court—have revealed the situation to be even worse.
Period shame is real, it is harmful, and it exists in every corner of the world. A global cohort of activists is working to counter that stigma and the damage it does. Here in the U.S., it has been dubbed the fight for menstrual equity. Access to products—as well as toilets, education and safe and accurate care—is an essential part of that agenda.
And, encouragingly, considerable progress has been made. For example, in an effort to ensure that menstruation doesn’t hinder students’ ability to succeed in school, four U.S. states recently passed laws requiring that pads and tampons be freely provided in school restrooms. Fourteen states now require a similar provision for incarcerated women—in county jails, state prisons and juvenile detention centers. Even Congress voted to do the same in 2018, passing a bipartisan prison reform package, the FIRST STEP Act that mandates menstrual access in federal correction facilities. (And, yes, Trump signed it into law.) Since 2016, another six states have passed laws exempting menstrual products from sales tax—eliminating the notorious “tampon tax” and making the case that menstrual products should be affordable for all.
But at the border right now, there’s no solace for young teens who might know little about what’s happening to their bodies—yet have to summon the courage to tell a male guard and ask for pads, only to be denied or given too few to matter. Or have to manage their periods in over-crowded rooms where privacy is scant. And aren’t even able to shower or wash hands or scrub clean stained underwear.
The harm extends beyond all surface cruelty too. There are serious potential health risks, some fatal, that come from using a pad or tampon for too long, ranging from infection to toxic shock.
As a matter of policy, compassion and common sense, menstrual equity should be a no-brainer. But we are far from a nationwide mandate.
Which is where the courts come in. And why it is heartening to see this testimony—horrifying as it is—featured as part of the formal court record. For as a matter of law, there are viable, though still untested, arguments to support the case for menstrual equity: namely, that deprivation of basic needs like safe, affordable tampons and pads may amount to a violation of due process, sex-based discrimination under the equal protection clause, or both.
Last year, California criminal defense attorney Paula Canny filed a class-action lawsuit in Sacramento arguing that denying free tampons to people held in county jails is unconstitutional. Her action prompted numerous counties to ensure the provision of menstrual products. And a new legal campaign launched this summer—Tax Free. Period.—to mobilize lawyers to challenge the tampon tax in court. Constitutional law scholar and Dean of U.C. Berkeley Law Erwin Chemerinsky made the case for the illegality of the tampon tax in a recent Los Angeles Times op-ed. And the director of Columbia Law School’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, Katherine Franke, told The New York Times that these legal claims, overall, “highlight a day-to-day way in which women experience discrimination in one of their most basic bodily functions.”
Fighting to have menstrual equity enshrined into our jurisprudence is a key step toward permanent, meaningful change. And a way to ensure that no one—especially a child in crisis—is shamed or harmed simply because they menstruate.
Jennifer Weiss-Wolf is vice president and women and democracy fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, and author of Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently published a study comparing “mental and physical health outcomes of children placed in foster care to outcomes of children not placed in foster care.”
The study claims to be the first of its kind looking specifically at these health outcomes.
Similar to other past studies looking at outcomes comparing foster children to those not placed in foster care, the results of this new study were predictable:
We find that children in foster care are in poor mental and physical health relative to children in the general population, children across specific family types, and children in economically disadvantaged families… Children in foster care are a vulnerable population in poor health, partially as a result of their early life circumstances.
The study reached three key conclusions:
First, children placed in foster care had more mental and physical health conditions than children not placed in foster care. For instance, these children were about twice as likely to have a learning disability and 3 times as likely to have ADD or ADHD. They were also roughly twice as likely to have asthma and speech problems and 3 times as likely to have hearing problems and vision problems. Differences were even more substantial for other mental health conditions; they were 5 times as likely to have anxiety, 6 times as likely to have behavioral problems, and 7 times as likely to have depression.
Second, although some of the mental and physical health differences of children in foster care compared with other children were explained by characteristics of these children and their households, many of the differences in mental health persisted after adjusting for these child and household characteristics, suggesting possible effects of foster care placement on mental health. However, unlike much other research in this area, our primary goal was not to ascertain whether foster care placement has an effect on children. Rather, our goal was to use these large and representative cross-sectional data to provide a descriptive portrait of the health of children in foster care relative to other children.
Third, children placed in foster care were in poor mental and physical health relative to children in virtually every other type of family situation and in children in economically disadvantaged families. The differences in mental health outcomes (ADD/ADHD, depression, anxiety, behavioral or conduct problems) were statistically significant. The differences in physical health outcomes, although sometimes substantial, were not statistically significant. Additionally, the results show that children adopted from foster care had worse health than their counterparts placed in foster care. These differences could be driven partially by the fact that children in foster care only become available for adoption after parental rights have been terminated (and therefore these children have likely experienced more maltreatment than children who remain in the system) or because adoption subsidies offered in some states encourage adoption of children with health conditions.
Good Foster Parents Handicapped in a Corrupt System
Ryan White from the Center for Health Journalism at USC Annenberg wrote a piece on this study. Some of the comments published at the end of the article point out the frustrations of those foster parents who often agree that children are better off with their biological parents rather than put into the foster care system.
A comment from “Shelly”:
Thank you for this. As the foster/adoptive parent of three, I love my children tremendously, but if I had a choice I’d rather that their biological families had the supports and opportunities to be healthy parents. Foster care is always a tragic choice.
A comment from “Carmen”:
I just read the article written by Ryan White and I agree with his observations and as a foster and now adoptive parents I went through these same stages. I learned that foster/adoption mental health services are not really equipped to help the amount of loss these children endure with the biggest loss of being removed from their families. I found that the kids develop coping skills to live within their families situations and in foster care/adoption spend years trying to overcome the effects of being removed from their families this has had on their lives.
So now I say if you can’t really help them then put impact services in the areas/schools where this is more prevalent so these kids can gravitate towards opportunities and healthy relationships vs removing them from their families and they can influence (empowerment) changes in their homes/communities.
One of the biggest factors is that most of my adoptive kids bio parents are developmentally delayed and so are the kids. So without opportunities for people in our society I have noticed that they all have turned to “survival” living.
And then, from the prospective from one who grew up in the foster care system, a comment from “Jeff”:
Let me start by saying that I am a former foster child. I grew up in 40-50 different placements ranging from mental hospitals, lockdowns, group homes, foster homes, etc al. Every type of abuse you can put an adjective in front of I personally endured. When I aged out I had less than 1 year of High school. On my own I got a GED, and a BSW in Social Work.
I initially wanted to be a social worker so that I could utilize my unique background to help other kids who are in a similar predicament that I was in. One of the first things that I learned in University was that most of my classmates were totally indoctrinated in the progressive view point of glorifying the victim. The professors were completely out of touch with reality.
There were three people who turned my life around. Two of them were foster parents and the third was a social worker without “proper” training that you described. There are several tangibles that an advanced degree is unable to teach chiefly empathy and love. I went to my first foster mother when I was 9 years old having come from a group home where I was repeatedly raped by older residents. Not only that but the so call experts (the ones that you want to turn to) were forcing me to take medication that no 9 year old should take in huge dosages.
My foster mother only had a high school education. She had no special degree or no special training (this was back in 1988). when I arrived in her care I could not even read and could only sign my first two initials ‘JL.’ The public schools did not want to work with me and the social workers constantly fought with my foster mother trying to take me away. She was able to keep me for nearly 3 years often fighting the system tooth and nail for my sake.
The social worker that I mentioned did not have a degree in social work when she became my worker. If I recall correctly she only had an education degree though later she was mandated to get a masters. What made her stand out though among the dozen of other social workers I had? She had a caring heart who could not stand injustice. She treated me as though I was one of her own children.
There are going to be bad social workers, supervisors, and even directors. Having a advanced degree as you advocated will not change that. I would even argue that having an advanced degree is oftentimes a detriment in this field. What needs to be done? Do away with children courts altogether (its unconstitutional) and forcing the state to make their allegations against the parent in a regular court of law. All parents have a right to be judged by their peers and not some judge! Also, stop incentivizing the state government through adoption grants. This amounts to modern day slavery when the federal government gets 80,000 dollar per year per child in the system and even more when they get adopted.
Not the First Study to Show the Failures of Foster Care
There have been numerous reports published over the past several years that clearly show the current foster care system is an abysmal failure. Children who stay with parents who are accused (but not arrested or convicted) of “abuse” or “neglect” clearly do better than most of the children being put into foster care.
In 2007 Joseph Doyle, an economics professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, published a study which tracked at least 15,000 kids from 1990 to 2002. It was the largest study of its kind at that time.
Children whose families are investigated for abuse or neglect are likely to do better in life if they stay with their families than if they go into foster care, according to a pioneering study. Kids who stayed with their families were less likely to become juvenile delinquents or teen mothers and more likely to hold jobs as young adults.
Doyle’s study…. provides “the first viable, empirical evidence” of the benefits of keeping kids with their families, says Gary Stangler, executive director of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, a foundation for foster teens. Stangler says it looked at kids over a longer period of time than had other studies. “It confirms what experience and observation tell us: Kids who can remain in their homes do better than in foster care,” says Stangler.
Joseph Doyle did another study, one year later in 2008, comparing children left in troubled homes with foster care children to see which group was more likely to be arrested as adults. The study looked at 23,000 children, and it found that “children placed in foster care have arrest, conviction, and imprisonment rates as adults that are three times higher than those of children who remained at home.” Read the full study here.
In January of 2015, U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack ruled against the State of Texas stating that their foster care system was unconstitutional. In her 255 page ruling, Judge Jack stated:
Texas’s PMC (Permanent Managing Conservatorship) children have been shuttled throughout a system where rape, abuse, psychotropic medication, and instability are the norm.
She ordered the State of Texas had to replace their foster care system with one that was Constitutional. (Full Story.)
Molly McGrath Tierney, the former Director of the Baltimore City Department of Social Services, gave one of the most insightful TEDx talks about the problems with the “Foster Care Industry” – an industry where children become a commodity that profits doctors, lawyers, judges, social workers, advocates, and other organizations, an industry that can only exist by taking other people’s children, an industry that damages the very children it purports to be helping. She goes on to explain the trauma inflicted on children by the foster care industry, saying:
… we’re digging a wound so deep, I don’t believe we have a way of measuring it. This dismantling of families – it has enormous consequences. Kids that grow up outside of families – they don’t master the things that can only be learned in that context, like who to trust, how to love, and how to take care of yourself, and that frankly does more damage than the abuse and neglect that brought the kid to my attention in the first place.
I have witnessed such injustice and harm brought to these families that I am not sure if I even believe reform of the system is possible! The system cannot be trusted. It does not serve the people. It obliterates families and children simply because it has the power to do so. Children deserve better. Families deserve better. It’s time to pull back the curtain and set our children and families free. (Full story.)
With billions of dollars employing hundreds of thousands of people in the corrupt foster care system, it is unrealistic to think it could ever be reformed. The only solution is to remove all funding and abolish it. Local communities, as they once did, would then be responsible for dealing with the problems of troubled families, instead of State Government bureaucracies motivated with federal funds to put more children into the foster care system.
For a greater treatment of this subject, please see:
Support the cause against Medical Kidnapping by purchasing our book!
If you know people who are skeptical and cannot believe that medical kidnapping happens in the U.S. today, this is the book for them! Backed with solid references and real life examples, they will not be able to deny the plain evidence before them, and will become better educated on this topic that is destroying the
Here is a very interesting documentary about Forgotten Children, the disabled ones, their lack of resources, how few are adopted, and how some women (journalists and a Russian socialite) are attempting to give them a better life–the life they deserve of caring and kindness.
Note the sections on the Ukrainian Court system and how it rubber stamps the words “incapacitated” upon them and how only one managed to reverse the designation.
How many similarities to the US court system for guardianship are there?
HARRIS COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM/CNN) – A former state district judge in South Texas has been sentenced to five years in federal prison after being found guilty of accepting cash bribes in exchange for favorable court rulings.
A jury in Houston convicted Rodolfo Delgado of Edinburg, of one count of conspiracy, three counts of federal program bribery, three counts of travel act bribery and one count of obstruction of justice.
Once the 66-year-old has served his prison sentence he will have two years of supervised release.
“Rudy Delgado used his position to enrich himself. He didn’t just tip the scales of justice, he knocked it over with a wad of cash and didn’t look back,” U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick said. “Delgado’s actions unfairly tarnish all his former colleagues.”
Delgado was a judge for the 93rd district court in Texas, and had jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases within Hidalgo County.
Between 2008 and 2016, he conspired with an attorney to accept bribes in exchange for favorable judicial consideration on criminal cases in his courtroom, said the US attorney’s office for the southern district of Texas.
One of the attorneys started working as an informant for the FBI in 2016, and reportedly would take beer boxes to the judge and slip money into them.
During their meetings, the judge and the attorney discussed purchasing “wood,” which the informant described as the code word for judicial favors. In some cases, Delgado reportedly accepted cash and asked for details such as the case number.
According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Delgado accepting bribes ranging between $520 and $5,500.
Delgado was elected to the bench in 2000 and was indicted in February 2018. When he found out he was being investigated by the FBI, authorities say he tried to obstruct justice by contacting the attorney and providing a false story about the payments.
Delgado had been free on bond since his July conviction. After his sentencing Wednesday, he will voluntarily surrender to a yet undetermined prison facility.