Brooklyn NY’s 5-year-old autistic boy’s tantrum mishandled by NYPD Cops


NY DAILY NEWS: A Brooklyn school’s botched handling of a 5-year-old autistic student’s tantrum ended disastrously — with his mom and grandma in handcuffs and his great-grandmother’s rib broken, the family and their lawyers charge.

Kindergartner “G.R.,” with great-grandma Lana Lirtsman (l.), mom Ida Rozenberg and grandma Maria Lirtsman. (Photo: NY Daily News)

Cops hauled the kindergartner out of Public School 197 in Brighton Beach, handcuffed his kin when they tried to comfort the boy, and pushed his 80-year-old great-grandmother out of the ambulance transporting him to the psych ward, they say.

“I was hysterical beyond belief, but I never expressed it because I wanted to help,” said mom Ida Rozenberg, 27, who was handcuffed before she was finally permitted to climb in the ambulance to comfort her son.

“He was crying and screaming,” she added. “They strapped him to that stretcher. He started, ‘What am I doing here? — in Russian. ‘Why am I here? What did I do?’ ”

On Tuesday, the family expects to officially notify the city of plans to sue over the March 6 incident. And officials confirm that the city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board is investigating.

Police deny handcuffing or manhandling the family.

“No one was touched,” a police spokeswoman said, noting officers were called to the school because the boy was out of control.

The attorneys for the family, who asked to identify the boy as G.R., argue the police should never have been called.

“The school should not have let the police come in and put their hands on G.R.,” said lawyer Jeffrey Rothman, who along with James Meyerson and Anton Papakhin represents the family.

“They should have been able to handle this temper tantrum from a 5-year-old.”

In December, family members were called to the school when G.R. became upset, but they were allowed to comfort the boy and take him home.

They were treated very differently on March 6. Grandmother Maria Lirtsman, 50, was the first family member to arrive and was physically blocked from seeing her grandson, she said.

A police officer dragged her down the school stairs faster than she could walk, she said, and at one point she fell. Cops handcuffed her twice, Rothman said.

“I was treated like garbage, like I’m a second-hand citizen,” said Lirtsman, who immigrated to the U.S. 35 years ago. “In Russia
, I would expect something like that, but in America it was the first time.”

Cops also handcuffed the mother and then pushed the great-grandmother to the ground when she tried to get in the ambulance with the distraught boy.

The ambulance driver ultimately stepped in to make sure the police released Rozenberg from handcuffs.

G.R. was given a clean bill of mental health and released from Coney Island Hospital, his family and attorneys say.

Later that evening, great-grandmother Lana Lirtsman returned to the hospital, fearing she was having a heart attack. Instead she learned that her rib had been broken, the family said.

“I couldn’t understand what was wrong with me,” she said.

Department of Education officials declined to comment on the specific incident, citing privacy rules.

“The school has assigned a [a teacher’s aide\] for the child and has been working with the family to meet the needs of the student,” said Department of Education spokeswoman Marge Feinberg.

Advocates charged calling cops on kindergartners shouldn’t be tolerated in city schools.

“This is the kind of behavior that is so out of line and so inconsistent with any notion of how we should be dealing with children that it’s really hard to believe,” said New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Donna Lieberman.

Posted in Autism Custody Battles in the Media | 2 Comments

New Definition of Autism May Exclude Many, Study Suggests


NY TIMES – Proposed changes in the definition of autism would sharply reduce the skyrocketing rate at which the disorder is diagnosed and may make it harder for many people who would no longer meet the criteria to get health, educational and social services, a new analysis suggests.

The definition is under review by an expert panel appointed by the American Psychiatric Association, which is completing work on the fifth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The D.S.M, as the manual is known, is the standard reference for mental disorders, driving research, treatment and insurance decisions.

The study results, presented on Thursday at a meeting of the Icelandic Medical Association, are still preliminary, but they offer the latest and most dramatic estimate of how tightening the criteria for autism could affect the rate of diagnosis. Rates of autism and related disorders like Asperger syndrome have taken off since the early 1980s, to prevalence rates as high as one in 100 children in some places. Many researchers suspect that these numbers are inflated because of vagueness in the current criteria.

“The proposed changes would put an end to the autism epidemic,” said Dr. Fred R. Volkmar, director of the Child Study Center at Yale University School of Medicine and an author of the new analysis. “We would nip it in the bud — think of it that way.”

Experts working on the new definition strongly questioned the new estimate. “I don’t know how they’re getting those numbers,” said Catherine Lord, a member of the task force working on the diagnosis.

Previous projections have concluded that far fewer people would be excluded under the proposed diagnosis change, said Dr. Lord, director of the Institute for Brain Development, a joint project of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College, Columbia University Medical Center and the New York Center for Autism.

Disagreement about the effect of the new definition will almost certainly increase scrutiny of the finer points of the psychiatric association’s changes to the manual The revisions are about 90 percent complete and will be final by December, according to Dr. David J. Kupfer, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh and chairman of the task force making the revisions.

At least a million children and adults have a diagnosis of autism or a related disorder, like Asperger syndrome or “pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified” — or P.D.D.-N.O.S. People with Asperger’s or P.D.D.-N.O.S. endure some of the same social struggles as those with autism but do not meet the definition for the full-blown version. The proposed change would consolidate all three diagnoses under one category, autism spectrum disorder, eliminating Asperger syndrome and P.D.D.-N.O.S. from the manual. Under the current criteria a person can qualify for the diagnosis by exhibiting six or more of 12 behaviors; under the proposed definition, the person would have to exhibit three deficits in social interaction and communication and at least two repetitive behaviors — a much narrower menu.

Dr. Kupfer said the proposed changes were an attempt to clarify these permutations and put them under one name.

Hundreds of thousands of people receive state-backed special services to help offset the disorders’ disabling effects, which include learning and social problems, and the diagnosis is in many ways central to their lives. Close networks of parents have bonded over common experiences with children; and the children, too, may grow to find a sense of their own identity in their struggle with the disorder.

Mary Meyer, of Ramsey, N.J., said that a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome was crucial in getting her daughter, who is 37, access to services that have helped tremendously. “I’m very concerned about the change in diagnosis because I wonder if my daughter would even qualify now,” she said. “She’s on disability, which is partly based on the Asperger’s, and I’m hoping to get her into supportive housing, which also depends on her diagnosis.”

Mark Roithmayr, president of Autism Speaks, an advocacy organization, said that the proposed diagnosis should bring needed clarity but that the effect on services was not yet clear. “We need to carefully monitor the impact of these diagnostic changes on access to services and ensure that no one is being denied the services they need,” Mr. Roithmayr said by e-mail. “Some treatments and services are driven solely by a person’s diagnosis, while other services may depend on other criteria such as age, I.Q. level or medical history.”

In the new analysis, Dr. Volkmar, along with Brian Reichow and James McPartland, both at Yale, used data from a large 1993 study that served as the basis for the current criteria. They focused on 372 children and adults who were among the highest-functioning and found that over all, only 45 percent of them would qualify for the proposed autism spectrum diagnosis now under review. The focus on a high-functioning group may have slightly exaggerated that percentage, the authors acknowledge.

The likelihood of being left out under the new definition depended on the original diagnosis: About a quarter of those identified with classic autism in 1993 would not be so identified under the proposed criteria; about three quarters of those with Asperger’s would not qualify; and 85 percent of those with P.D.D.-N.O.S. would not.

Dr. Volkmar presented the preliminary findings on Thursday. The researchers will publish a broader analysis, based on a larger and more representative sample of 1,000 cases, later this year. Dr. Volkmar said that although the proposed diagnosis would be for disorders on a spectrum and implies a broader net, it focuses tightly on “classically autistic” children on the more severe end of the scale. “The major impact here is on the more cognitively able,” he said.

Posted in Autism and Custody Battles are happening | Leave a comment

Judge Rotenberg School for people with Autism using electric shock treatment, lobbying to remain open


The Judge Rotenberg Educational Center (JRC, formerly known as the Behavior Research Institute) is a school for students with autism that operates in Canton, Massachusetts, providing applied behavior analysis and educational services. The Center is THE LAST ONE that makes extensive use of aversives, including electric shock and withholding of food, in its treatment and behavioral interventions.  The school is now lobbying to remain open after an investigation was brought against them.  So far, they have spent enormous sums defending themselves. Can we afford to remain silent?

In May of 2011, the founder was forced to leave his positionand serve a year probation.  In February, the justice department opened an investigation into the school after it received a complaint alleging the centre had violated disability laws.  Despite the negative publicity directed at him, Matthew Israel, a Harvard-trained psychologist managed to keep operating for so long partly because he had the vociferous support of parents of severely autistic children at the school.

And now, they are lobbying to stay open. Is that how we want them to spend their money? Or should they use it to refine alternative techniques for behavior modification?  This is appalling.

Posted in Autism and Custody Battles are happening | 3 Comments

The Constitutional Right to Be a Parent


American Family Rights :: The Voice of America's Families©

Below are excerpts of caselaw from state appellate and federal district courts and up to the U.S. Supreme Court, all of which affirm, from one perspective or another, the absolute Constitutional right of parents to actually BE parents to their children.

No case authoritative within this circuit, however, had held that the state had a comparable obligation to protect children from their own parents, and we now know that the obligation does not exist in constitutional law.” K.H. Through Murphy v. Morgan, 914 F.2d 846 (C.A.7 (Ill.), 1990.

“Rights to marry, have children and maintain relationship with children are fundamental rights protected by the Fourteenth Amendment and thus, strict scrutiny is required of any statutes that directly and substantially impair those rights.” P.O.P.S. v. Gardner, 998 F2d 764 (9th Cir. 1993)

“Parents right to rear children without undue governmental interference is a fundamental component of due process.”
Nunez by Nunez v. City of San Diego, 114 F3d 935 (9th Cir. 1997)

The rights of parents to the care, custody and nurture of their children is of such character that it cannot be denied without violating those fundamental principles of liberty and justice which lie at the base of all our civil and political institutions, and such right is a fundamental right protected by this amendment (First) and Amendments 5, 9, and 14. Doe v. Irwin, 441 F Supp 1247; U.S. D.C. of Michigan, (1985).

The several states have no greater power to restrain individual freedoms protected by the First Amendment than does the Congress of the United States. Wallace v. Jaffree, 105 S Ct 2479; 472 US 38, (1985).

Loss of First Amendment Freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury. Though First Amendment rights are not absolute, they may be curtailed only by interests of vital importance, the burden of proving which rests on their government. Elrod v. Burns, 96 S Ct 2673; 427 US 347, (1976).

Law and court procedures that are “fair on their faces” but administered “with an evil eye or a heavy hand” was discriminatory and violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 US 356, (1886).

Even when blood relationships are strained, parents retain vital interest in preventing irretrievable destruction of their family life; if anything, persons faced with forced dissolution of their parental rights have more critical need for procedural protections than do those resisting state intervention into ongoing family affairs. Santosky v. Kramer, 102 S Ct 1388; 455 US 745, (1982).

Parents have a fundamental constitutionally protected interest in continuity of legal bond with their children. Matter of Delaney, 617 P 2d 886, Oklahoma (1980). .

The liberty interest of the family encompasses an interest in retaining custody of one’s children and, thus, a state may not interfere with a parent’s custodial rights absent due process protections. Langton v. Maloney, 527 F Supp 538, D.C. Conn. (1981).

Parent’s right to custody of child is a right encompassed within protection of this amendment which may not be interfered with under guise of protecting public interest by legislative action which is arbitrary or without reasonable relation to some purpose within competency of state to effect. Regenold v. Baby Fold, Inc., 369 NE 2d 858; 68 Ill 2d 419, appeal dismissed 98 S Ct 1598, 435 US 963, IL, (1977).

Parent’s interest in custody of her children is a liberty interest which has received considerable constitutional protection; a parent who is deprived of custody of his or her child, even though temporarily, suffers thereby grievous loss and such loss deserves extensive due process protection. In the Interest of Cooper, 621 P 2d 437; 5 Kansas App Div 2d 584, (1980).

The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment requires that severance in the parent-child relationship caused by the state occur only with rigorous protections for individual liberty interests at stake. Bell v. City of Milwaukee, 746 F 2d 1205; US Ct App 7th Cir WI, (1984).

Father enjoys the right to associate with his children which is guaranteed by this amendment (First) as incorporated in Amendment 14, or which is embodied in the concept of “liberty” as that word is used in the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment and Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Mabra v. Schmidt, 356 F Supp 620; DC, WI (1973).

“Separated as our issue is from that of the future interests of the children, we have before us the elemental question whether a court of a state, where a mother is neither domiciled, resident nor present, may cut off her immediate right to the care, custody, management and companionship of her minor children without having jurisdiction over her in personam. Rights far more precious to appellant than property rights will be cut off if she is to be bound by the Wisconsin award of custody.” May v. Anderson, 345 US 528, 533; 73 S Ct 840, 843, (1952).

A parent’s right to care and companionship of his or her children are so fundamental, as to be guaranteed protection under the First, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. In re: J.S. and C., 324 A 2d 90; supra 129 NJ Super, at 489.

The Court stressed, “the parent-child relationship is an important interest that undeniably warrants deference and, absent a powerful countervailing interest, protection.” A parent’s interest in the companionship, care, custody and management of his or her children rises to a constitutionally secured right, given the centrality of family life as the focus for personal meaning and responsibility. Stanley v. Illinois, 405 US 645, 651; 92 S Ct 1208, (1972).

Parent’s rights have been recognized as being “essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free man.” Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 US 390; 43 S Ct 625, (1923).

The U.S. Supreme Court implied that “a (once) married father who is separated or divorced from a mother and is no longer living with his child” could not constitutionally be treated differently from a currently married father living with his child. Quilloin v. Walcott, 98 S Ct 549; 434 US 246, 255^Q56, (1978).

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit (California) held that the parent-child relationship is a constitutionally protected liberty interest. (See; Declaration of Independence –life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution — No state can deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law nor deny any person the equal protection of the laws.) Kelson v. Springfield, 767 F 2d 651; US Ct App 9th Cir, (1985).

The parent-child relationship is a liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. Bell v. City of Milwaukee, 746 f 2d 1205, 1242^Q45; US Ct App 7th Cir WI, (1985).

No bond is more precious and none should be more zealously protected by the law as the bond between parent and child.” Carson v. Elrod, 411 F Supp 645, 649; DC E.D. VA (1976).

A parent’s right to the preservation of his relationship with his child derives from the fact that the parent’s achievement of a rich and rewarding life is likely to depend significantly on his ability to participate in the rearing of his children. A child’s corresponding right to protection from interference in the relationship derives from the psychic importance to him of being raised by a loving, responsible, reliable adult. Franz v. U.S., 707 F 2d 582, 595^Q599; US Ct App (1983).

A parent’s right to the custody of his or her children is an element of “liberty” guaranteed by the 5th Amendment and the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution. Matter of Gentry, 369 NW 2d 889, MI App Div (1983).

Reality of private biases and possible injury they might inflict were impermissible considerations under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Palmore v. Sidoti, 104 S Ct 1879; 466 US 429.

Legislative classifications which distributes benefits and burdens on the basis of gender carry the inherent risk of reinforcing stereotypes about the proper place of women and their need for special protection; thus, even statutes purportedly designed to compensate for and ameliorate the effects of past discrimination against women must be carefully tailored. the state cannot be permitted to classify on the basis of sex. Orr v. Orr, 99 S Ct 1102; 440 US 268, (1979).

The United States Supreme Court held that the “old notion” that “generally it is the man’s primary responsibility to provide a home and its essentials” can no longer justify a statute that discriminates on the basis of gender. No longer is the female destined solely for the home and the rearing of the family, and only the male for the marketplace and the world of ideas. Stanton v. Stanton, 421 US 7, 10; 95 S Ct 1373, 1376, (1975).

Judges must maintain a high standard of judicial performance with particular emphasis upon conducting litigation with scrupulous fairness and impartiality. 28 USCA § 2411; Pfizer v. Lord, 456 F.2d 532; cert denied 92 S Ct 2411; US Ct App MN, (1972).

State Judges, as well as federal, have the responsibility to respect and protect persons from violations of federal constitutional rights. Gross v. State of Illinois, 312 F 2d 257; (1963).

The Constitution also protects “the individual interest in avoiding disclosure of personal matters.” Federal Courts (and State Courts), under Griswold can protect, under the “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” phrase of the Declaration of Independence, the right of a man to enjoy the mutual care, company, love and affection of his children, and this cannot be taken away from him without due process of law. There is a family right to privacy which the state cannot invade or it becomes actionable for civil rights damages. Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 US 479, (1965).

The right of a parent not to be deprived of parental rights without a showing of fitness, abandonment or substantial neglect is so fundamental and basic as to rank among the rights contained in this Amendment (Ninth) and Utah’s Constitution, Article 1 § 1. In re U.P., 648 P 2d 1364; Utah, (1982).

The rights of parents to parent-child relationships are recognized and upheld. Fantony v. Fantony, 122 A 2d 593, (1956); Brennan v. Brennan, 454 A 2d 901, (1982). State’s power to legislate, adjudicate and administer all aspects of family law, including determinations of custodial; and visitation rights, is subject to scrutiny by federal judiciary within reach of due process and/or equal protection clauses of 14th Amendment…Fourteenth Amendment applied to states through specific rights contained in the first eight amendments of the Constitution which declares fundamental personal rights…Fourteenth Amendment encompasses and applied to states those preexisting fundamental rights recognized by the Ninth Amendment. The Ninth Amendment acknowledged the prior existence of fundamental rights with it: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” The United States Supreme Court in a long line of decisions, has recognized that matters involving marriage, procreation, and the parent-child relationship are among those fundamental “liberty” interests protected by the Constitution. Thus, the decision in Roe v. Wade, 410 US 113; 93 S Ct 705; 35 L Ed 2d 147, (1973), was recently described by the Supreme Court as founded on the “Constitutional underpinning of … a recognition that the “liberty” protected by the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment includes not only the freedoms explicitly mentioned in the Bill of Rights, but also a freedom of personal choice in certain matters of marriage and family life.” The non-custodial divorced parent has no way to implement the constitutionally protected right to maintain a parental relationship with his child except through visitation. To acknowledge the protected status of the relationship as the majority does, and yet deny protection under Title 42 USC § 1983, to visitation, which is the exclusive means of effecting that right, is to negate the right completely. Wise v. Bravo, 666 F.2d 1328, (1981).

One of the most precious rights possessed by parents is the right to raise their children free of government interference. That right, “more precious than mere property rights,” is a liberty interest, protected by the substantive and procedural Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645, 92 S.Ct. 1208, 31 L.Ed.2d 551 (1972). Moreover, the fact that the custodians are grandparents rather than parents is legally insignificant, because families headed by extended family members are entitled to the same constitutional protections as those headed by parents, Moore v. City of East Cleveland, 431 U.S. 494, 97 S.Ct. 1932, 52 L.Ed.2d 531 (1977) Even relatives who are licensed as foster parents enjoy the same constitutional rights as other custodial relatives. Rivera v. Marcus, 696 F.2d 1016 (2d Cir. 1982).

Because of the magnitude of the liberty interests of parents and adult extended family members in the care and companionship of children, the Fourteenth Amendment protects these substantive due process liberty interests by prohibiting the government from depriving fit parents of custody of their children. See Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645, 651, 92 S.Ct. 1208, 31 L.Ed.2d 551 (1972); Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U.S. 745, 760, 102 S.Ct. 1388, 71 L.Ed.2d 599 (1982); Duchesne v. Sugarman, 566 F.2d 817, 824 (2d Cir. 1977); Hurlman v. Rice, 927 F.2d 74, 79 (2d Cir. 1991). In the United States Supreme Court’s view, the state registers “no gains toward its stated goals [of protecting children] when it separates a fit parent from the custody of his children.” Stanley, 405 U.S. at 652.

Grandparents are also entitled to procedural due process. “An essential principle of due process is that a deprivation of life, liberty, or property ‘be preceded by notice and opportunity for hearing appropriate to the nature of the case.’” Cleveland Bd. of Educ. v. Loudermill, 470 U.S. 532, 542, 105 S.Ct. 1487, 84 L.Ed.2d 494 (1985) (quoting Mullane v. Central Hanover Bank & Trust Co., 339 U.S. 306, 70 S.Ct. 652, 94 L.Ed.2d 865 (1950)).

The grandchildren have a Fourth Amendment right not to be seized by the government for child protective purposes unless it has probable cause to believe that the children have been neglected. Tenenbaum v. Williams, 193 F.3d 581 (2d Cir. 1999), cert. denied, 529 U.S. 1098, 120 S.Ct. 1832, 146 L.Ed.2d 776 (2000). Probable cause exists only if the officials have persuasive evidence of serious ongoing abuse and reason to fear imminent recurrence. Robison v. Via, 821 F.2d 913, 922 (2d Cir. 1987).

Grandparents cannot be dismissed from the dependency case because the dependency case is the only legal way that the state can interfere with their custody. The state must prove that they are abusive or neglectful and that the children would be at risk of immediate serious harm if returned.

FROM THE COLORADO SUPREME COURT, 1910

In controversies affecting the custody of an infant, the interest and welfare of the child is the primary and controlling question by which the court must be guided. This rule is based upon the theory that the state must perpetuate itself, and good citizenship is essential to that end. Though nature gives to parents the right to the custody of their own children, and such right is scarcely less sacred than the right to life and liberty, and is manifested in all animal life, yet among mankind the necessity for government has forced the recognition of the rule that the perpetuity of the state is the first consideration, and parental authority itself is subordinate to this supreme power. It is recognized that: ‘The moment a child is born it owes allegiance to the government of the country of its birth, and is entitled to the protection of that government. And such government is obligated by its duty of protection, to consult the welfare, comfort and interest of such child in regulating its custody during the period of its minority.’ Mercein v. People, 25 Wend. (N. Y.) 64, 103, 35 Am. Dec. 653; McKercher v. Green, 13 Colo. App. 271, 58 Pac. 406. But as government should never interfere with the natural rights of man, except only when it is essential for the good of society, the state recognizes, and enforces, the right which nature gives to parents [48 Colo. 466] to the custody of their own children, and only supervenes with its sovereign power when the necessities of the case require it.

The experience of man has demonstrated that the best development of a young life is within the sacred precincts of a home, the members of which are bound together by ties entwined through ‘bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh'; that it is in such homes and under such influences that the sweetest, purest, noblest, and most attractive qualities of human nature, so essential to good citizenship, are best nurtured and grow to wholesome fruition; that, when a state is based and builded upon such homes, it is strong in patriotism, courage, and all the elements of the best civilization. Accordingly these recurring facts in the experience of man resulted in a presumption establishing prima facie that parents are in every way qualified to have the care, custody, and control of their own offspring, and that their welfare and interests are best subserved under such control. Thus, by natural law, by common law, and, likewise, the statutes of this state, the natural parents are entitled to the custody of their minor children, except when they are unsuitable persons to be intrusted with their care, control, and education, or when some exceptional circumstances appear which render such custody inimicable to the best interests of the child. While the right of a parent to the custody of its infant child is therefore, in a sense, contingent, the right can never be lost or taken away so long as the parent properly nurtures, maintains, and cares for the child.

Wilson v. Mitchell, 111 P. 21, 25-26, 48 Colo. 454 (Colo. 1910)

Source: FamilyRights.us

Posted in Autism and Custody Battles are happening | 4 Comments

Women assaulted while peacefully protesting Henna White’s illegal practices at the District Attorney’s office


Multiple  protesters  were assaulted and had their placards destroyed today, February 15, 2011 by  and enraged  Steve (Shlomo) Zackheim, a man with a criminal background .  These people assembled on this blustery and bitter cold evening in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn NY on behalf of their friends who have suffered injustice.   After putting their trust in Kings County liaison Hanna White, and disclosing critical details pertaining to their particular case, they were then betrayed in the worst way possible.

CLICK TO SEE VIDEO OF RALLY
Youtube: Protest Against Henna White and OHEL 2-15-11

Accusations of Henna’s alleged illegal practices include gathering information from abuse victims under the pretense of providing them with referrals to services and assistance.  It is alleged that her office has been double timing these victims.  Allegedly, the knowledge that the victims are seeking to file an order of protection, then gets channeled to her attorney husband, Asher White, who advises the abusers “off the record”.

Media Links:

Haredi Women Protest Against Brooklyn DA’s Jewish Liason And OHEL

Nochum Rosenberg – בזכות נשים צדקניות נגאלו – In The Merit Of The Righteous Women They Were Redeemed

The Awareness Center: (Brooklyn, NY) Religious Women Protest Against Henna White and Ohel Family Services

Joe Levin Private investigations Haredi Women Protest Against Brooklyn DA’s Jewish Liason And OHEL

zingmitProtest Against Henna White and Ohel

There is supporting evidence that once the abuser is awarded an order of protection, they then have access to grant money so generously funded for “victims” of domestic violence.   Legal fees are paid for brand name attorneys to help the abuser get custody of the children, while the real victims are further victimized using the “legal” system., created to protect them in the first place.  Many counseling and foster care organizations are closely linked to Henna White’s office. They rely heavily on her referrals to fill their quota with every child that is entered into their umbrella organization for counseling, or foster care.

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Grieving your marriage, losing your children, yet knowing that you are truly never going back to that man


Do you find yourself grieving your marriage, and asking yourself, “WHY didn’t I divorce him years ago when we were already separated, and the kids were little, and I was financially stable? WHY WHY!”. Stop torturing yourself, because this time, you were ready. That’s why.  Because you had to hit rock bottom and realize that even if you divorce the Rabbi, your parents, the neighbors, and lose your house, your pants… everything, I will still leave this man! And once you hit that all time low, you are them able to do it.

And I lost my kids too in the process. Although the custody decision is not final, it’s still lost to me. And I am ****STILL**** not going back to him. Because that’s how far he went to pull me back in. This time though, I’m for real.

Abuse has been recognized as a cycle by the experts on the subject. We can only break free of that cycle if we stop reacting. The abuser will never stop. But walking away is very difficult. Some men threaten to kill themselves if you leave them. Some men threaten to kill you, or your children if you leave him… and some simply kill after separation. See my post on post-separation violence.

And then there are always those who swear they will make your life a living hell, forcing you to come crawling back to Papa. Sorry, dear, I have stopped reacting. You have rendered me homeless, childless, penniless, yet, I still have my spirit. I still have my will to live.

The world stands before me, beautiful life with its infinite possibilities. I’m not crumbling just yet.  I have so many more amazing years left to live. I guess he wants to diaper them babies. What am I going to do, fight?  That’s reacting, again. And again. DO NOT REACT. Go out there. Build a beautiful you, a beautiful life, for your children to return to you. They will come crawling back, you know that. But they first have to go through the same cycle that you went through. They too, have to learn to divorce their father, their neighbors, their teachers… they too have to learn that there is one safe place, and one safe place only.

It is your job, Mommy, to build that safe haven for them. And by going to court and fighting tooth and nail, calling police and CPS when he is hurting them… you will hurt them even more.  Now go build that safe haven for them!

You do need to be careful about children who turn into little abusers too. They come running when they want you to buy them their trousau, or to be added to the will when you are on your deathbed. Suddenly, they make an appearance by your cancer treatments. Of course, a mother’s heart will always want her offspring right near her. But by then, you will be so healthy emotionally, you will know how to react. Now go get strong, this is your obligation to your children.  By giving up (in his eyes), you are giving back (to your children).

Let me know how it goes, I want your feedback.

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Posted in Autism and Custody Battles are happening | 1 Comment

Why chassidish divorces in the Jewish Community turn so ugly, so fast


For those of you in the ultra chassidish circles, you may understand this very quickly. Those of you who don’t understand, I hope to offer come clarity.

Girls usually are the second or third year on the job when they get engaged.  They marry a boy who was flown home from Yeshiva specifically to get engaged. He then flies back to finish his zman. The chasunah is scheduled so that he doesn’t break a zman, usually Yomim Tovim time (Shavuos, Rosh Chodesh Nissan, After Sukkos, etc.).

Then the fun begins. They have learn each others names… and the next thing you know, she is throwing up in the morning as she rushes to go to her measly teaching job for $300 a week… he arrives to kollel at 11. He compares the lunch that his new wife packed for him, with his ‘learning’ partners. He realizes that although she made fresh brownies for him, his friend has cantaloupe. It’s now her fault that his suit is now plotzing. At night, she moves the buttons over half an inch. He breathes easier. He is turned on by watching his ‘wife’ do mommy things, stuff his mother did when he was growing up.

She continues to throw up. He now learns that when she sends him an urgent text, it means that she needs to go to the doctor.  He comes running.  She gives birth. She is pressured to get clean quickly, she was taught that withholding him for any extra hour is wrong and not her wifely duty. She takes vitamins… anything, to get clean. Finally, nearly not making it, she goes to the mikvah at 5.5 weeks. She is throwing up again.

He gets turned on by watching her nurse the baby, because that’s what his mommy used to do. He gets mad that she is losing her milk and not able to nurse the baby efficiently. He is mad that she is supplementing with formula. Go to the lactation consultant, here’s $300. Go take vitamins, drink beer. Do something!

She feels miserable. Then she finds out that she never really got her period since the baby was born… and suddenly she throws up. Bam. Positive.

They consider getting the husband a job at B&H, because over there, they hire guys with accents who cannot read or write past pre-1-a level.  He says yes. She does all the phone calls for him. She gets him a job because her uncle works in the camera department…

He starts working there. Learns stuff about life. He begins to resent that she is working. He now feels manly. His self esteem has grown. He learns about which movie is good to watch. She is plotzing.  He starts renting 24, CSI… all the shooting gory stuff. She is appalled.

She stays silent. Finally, when he stays overnight in Monticello with his friend Yitzchok on ‘business’ on some bungalow colony they might invest in for next summer… she calls the Rav who gave him his chosson lessons before the chassunah. She tells the Rav that until this marriage is stabilized, she needs a heter for birth control. The Rav has a screaming fit, and yells at her for even thinking so dirty.

It takes ten more years and 3 or 6 children later until the relationship turns into a ‘if I don’t do his laundry and he doesn’t eat my food so that he doesn’t have to comment, I think I can survive another hour’. There is no longer any communication, no intimacy… and nobody knows! But the children get older, and they are now pre-teen. This one is failing yeshiva. That one is beating her classmates…. It’s misery.  She does all the phone calls with the Rebbeim, teachers. He is now working 18 hours a day.

Finally, he gets a call from the Menahal at the Yeshiva – did you know your son is now doing much better with the tutor that your wife hired last year? HUH? WHAT? He gets mad that a “man’ was hired to do totty work, and he had no idea. They start fighting… it never ends. Every rav gets involved. Nobody can make peace anymore because of all this underlying tension. It’s a mess. This is not the straw that broke the camel’s back. There never was a camel. There is no foundation in a marriage like this. So when you add any tiny pressure, there is zero communication, no skills. It’s a dead end.  There is nothing to build from.

The Chassidish boys are immature, not educated with any secular subjects, and have no self worth outside of Kollel. The girls are over skilled, overeducated. They become “mommy’ too quickly… and nobody knows anything about relationships, chemistry, intimacy, fostering communication. They turn to movies and get the wrong idea about romance.

For all of you out there sadly nodding your heads, my heart goes out to you. My suggestion to you – build your man. Make him a human being who has discovered a healthy outlet for the things he likes in life. If he loves nature, keep sending him for those hikes. Alone, if that’s how he likes it. I know a friend whose husband is obsessed with spreading nissim related to his donations to Kupat Hair… in his spare time, he loves going around collecting their pushkas. She lets him. Gosh, if it makes the guy happy, and if helps him feel like a man? Please, by all means. Let them become a happy person. And they will shine, and rise above it all. And exceed beyond your wildest imagination. I highly, and I mean highly, recommend the book, “The Five Love Languages”. Better yet, I have the 30 minute DVD and whoever watched it says, it saved their marriage.

You ask, why couldn’t I save my marriage? Unfortunately, mental illness cannot be incorporated into a marriage without treatment. Sad.

So now, with divorce – this is the saga. The men, who were told their entire lives – get married, have babies, do us proud… that is all they know, and that is all the aspire to. If their wife is not happy, they think that she is leaving him because SHE is not happy. They have no idea what role they played in the decline of this relationship. So it’s all her fault. Now, they must save face in their shul.

So they do one of two things. They spread stories that either she had a mental breakdown, or PPD, or BPD, or Depression… or, they tell people that she was sleeping around.

Then, they rally up the entire community to work with them. And then, when the courts hear that she is nebach so meshuga (they hear from neighbors, school teachers, her own friends…) the courts swiftly grant the husband’s custody. Hurray.  Mission accomplished

I cannot tell you how many women have reached out to me, women who went through this cycle. The only thing we can do is NOT FIGHT BACK. You cannot fight this system, because the men will then find how to make you even more miserable. They will use the kids as the ultimate pawns in this war. Walk away, and they will find no reason to use the kids against you. Horrible, but true. If you want your kids to live in peace, somewhat, walk away!  For those of you who haven’t been through this, may you never half to make that decision.

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Posted in Jewish Community, Chassidim and Divorce | 9 Comments