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  1. #1
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    OH - Disabled boy was forcibly baptized at an evangelical church, lawsuit says

    http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index...led_boy_w.html

    In their lawsuit, the DeFibaughs raise religious issues and questions of First Amendment violations. They accuse Guarnera and the boy's court-appointed guardian, Margaret Vaughan, 53, of Chardon, of forcing their evangelical beliefs on the boy and defying their orders against subjecting their son to religious proselytizing.

    "The plaintiffs have suffered and continue to suffer loss of their constitutional rights to choose and practice the religion of their choice, and the right to provide or not provide religious education to their child as they see fit without the interference and indoctrination" of the defendants, the lawsuit said.

    The couple is represented by Cleveland lawyer Kenneth Myers, as well as Geoffrey Blackwell, an attorney at the American Atheists Legal Center in Washington, D.C. The Atheists organization also distributed a press release on Tuesday.
    IMO

  2. #2
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    Hambden Township woman starts fundraiser for wheelchair-accessible van.

    http://www.news-herald.com/article/H...NEWS/140229706 from Feb 25, 2014

  3. #3
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    http://nypost.com/2017/03/30/parents...-their-wishes/

    The lawsuit said a man from a local Big Brothers Big Sisters group took the boy without his parents to a Morning Star Friends Church picnic last August and threatened to stop taking him to minor league baseball games unless he agreed to be baptized.
    MOO
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  4. #4
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    Idea of this forced baptism & religious indoctrination is atrocious, if it happened as described in link.
    But ... 1st A rights? How did fed or st govt violate this child's rights?

    What is nature of the boy's disability? Physical? Cognitive? Why did ct appt guardian for him? IRC, guardian was Vaughn.
    What was official involvement of 'Big Brother, David Guarnera, 54?'

    Trying to figure out who's who.

    "The DeFibaughs felt intimidated by Vaughan and complained to her supervisors at CASA For Kids of Geauga County, but the officials declined to remove Vaughan as their children's guardian."

    "The couple accuses the defendants of violating their First Amendment rights to freedom of religion, as well as separation of church and state.
    Named defendants in the lawsuit are Guarnera, Chesnes, Vaughan, Morning Star Friends Church, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Northeast Ohio, and CASA For Kids of Geauga County." bbm
    http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index...led_boy_w.html (same as SophieRose'sPost).

    JM2cts.

  5. #5
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    This may help untangle who is who, at least there is a link to petition. Off to read.

    "The family is seeking declaratory judgment that the conduct of the named defendants was unconstitutional, compensatory and punitive damages, and counsel fees and costs.
    The lawsuit is Case No. 1:17-cv-00645 and has been assigned to Judge Patricia Guaghan.
    You can read the complete filing here."

    https://www.atheists.org/2017/03/child-forced-baptism/ Mar 27, 2017

  6. #6
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    OH: Disabled boy was forcibly baptized at an evangelical church, lawsuit says

    I have known a couple of parents who had to petition the courts for services for their disabled children, however, this is just bizarre. Sister, "V2" was found in need of services and because of that Ohio examined brother "V" to see if services were needed. Sounds good so far. Brother "V" was deemed dependent and in need of services (the GAL who recommended her pastor and friend as mentor and also removal from the home if the parents refused religion) because he was socially awkward?!? This is nutso. CASA and BBBS are both govt contracted nonprofits who in this case were "guardians" for the children during outings and while providing state mandated services.

    I've read most of it, and will finish after I get my little ones to bed. If I'm misunderstanding something please help because this is pretty odd.



    ETA.... IMO being socially awkward is not a disability and something that many if not most kids deal with.

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  7. #7
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    Adding my comments in green in your post below. Also ssm bbm

    Quote Originally Posted by keeleydoll View Post
    ... this is just bizarre.
    ^ Agreeing w you.

    Sister, "V2"
    Does above "V2" designation suggest that girl was victim 2 within family? May be totally irrelevant.

    ... was found in need of services and because of that Ohio examined brother "V" to see if services were needed. Sounds good so far...
    ^ Agreeing.

    ... Brother "V" was deemed dependent and in need of services (the GAL who recommended her pastor and friend as mentor and also removal from the home if the parents refused religion) because he was socially awkward?!? This is nutso.
    ^ Agreeing w 'nutso.'

    ...CASA and BBBS are both govt contracted nonprofits who in this case were "guardians" for the children during outings and while providing state mandated services.
    ^ IIUC, ct appted Vaughan as GAL to advocate for child's interests in court, not to represent him in ct in the same role as an attorney, which Vaughan may or may not be. And not a guardian in the sense of having child in her home for day to day care.
    ....

    Looks like our interps are pretty much on the same page.


    ETA.... IMO being socially awkward is not a disability and something that many if not most kids deal with.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Scratching my head about finding of need for st to provide services for child being "socially awkward."

    That said, I wonder whether petition accurately describes Mom & Dad's communications w GAL Vaughan and/or BBBS volunteer Guarnera, and whether they made any written comm. w them? Or w ct, on pro se or other basis?
    Awaiting further thoughts from you & others.

    Is it common for services like this (intermittent outings, etc) be provided for a child who is presumably living w parents? Ct involvement suggests parents were not receptive to services. I could be all wrong.
    Last edited by al66pine; 04-10-2017 at 10:07 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by al66pine View Post
    Adding my comments in green in your post below. Also ssm bbm


    Scratching my head about finding of need for st to provide services for child being "socially awkward."

    That said, I wonder whether petition accurately describes Mom & Dad's communications w GAL Vaughan and/or BBBS volunteer Guarnera, and whether they made any written comm. w them? Or w ct, on pro se or other basis?
    Awaiting further thoughts from you & others.

    Is it common for services like this (intermittent outings, etc) be provided for a child who is presumably living w parents? Ct involvement suggests parents were not receptive to services. I could be all wrong.
    I was wondering the same, do they have some sort of confirmation of how discussions played out? I know in VA, any party can record conversations either audio or video and the other parties do not need to be made aware for the recordings to be legally admissible.

    The friends I had who had to petition for services both had autistic children who were being denied some services by their school systems that were recommended by either drs or therapists and should have been added to IEPs.

    I'm pretty surprised that these entities were brought in without any involvement of DCFS (whatever) especially since it turns into govt entities paying private nonprofits with no outside oversight.


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  9. #9
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    I think the core issue is that the baptizers apparently ignored a court order regarding religious conversion. This implies that their status as guardians did not give them full parental rights.

    IF they wanted the ability to convert the child, they needed to adopt a child. Long term fostering may also give them parental authority in some states as well.
    Last edited by Cryptic; 04-11-2017 at 08:52 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cryptic View Post
    I think the core issue is that the baptizers apparently ignored a court order regarding religious conversion. This implies that their status as guardians did not give them full parental rights.

    IF they wanted the ability to convert the child, they needed to adopt a child. Long term fostering may also give them parental authority in some states as well.
    But a guardian ad listen has no custody, the children were never removed from the parent's home and as far as I can tell, state child welfare services were never even involved in the case. GAL are just supposed to be an unbiased outside person (usually volunteer) who helps to advise the court on what is in the best interest of the child.

    *** I have family member's whose kid's have and have had GALs in regard to custody cases



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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by keeleydoll View Post
    But a guardian ad listen has no custody, the children were never removed from the parent's home and as far as I can tell, state child welfare services were never even involved in the case. GAL are just supposed to be an unbiased outside person (usually volunteer) who helps to advise the court on what is in the best interest of the child.
    Yikes, they seem to have little, if any, parental rights and are in trouble. If they were unwilling to comply with the court's orders, they needed to return the child to the court. Then apply to be assigned a child with no religious restrictions. In my state, social workers are willing to work with such people in the interest of placing children.

  12. #12
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    Right, no custody at all. Like the GAL visits would be similar in scope to seeing the child's therapist and the BBBS mentor would be similar to a school coach or teacher on a field trip and have responsibility for the child when taking them on outings.


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  13. #13
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    GaL's responsibilities in OH

    Quote Originally Posted by Cryptic View Post
    I think the core issue is that the baptizers apparently ignored a court order regarding religious conversion. This implies that their status as guardians did not give them full parental rights.
    IF they wanted the ability to convert the child, they needed to adopt a child. Long term fostering may also give them parental authority in some states as well.
    ^ bbm: I missed any ref in petition to ^ppl^ ignoring ct order. Anyone see it in linked petition?

    Cryptic, if petition addresses GaL or Big B as having full parental rights or even foster parent parent rights, I missed it. Vaughan is described as being a Guardian ad Litem.
    http://ohiolegalservices.org/public/...s/qandact_view toward bottom of page, simple comparison of guardian & GaL, in Ohio.

    More at https://www.ohiobar.org/ForPublic/Re...anUse-234.aspx See Q & A re list of GaL responsibilities in Ohio. Updated Sept 26, 2016

    Agreeing: a core issue is GaL Vaughan & Big Brother Guarnera's proselytizing & trying to force evangelical beliefs on the boy, and if it happened, and esp. if boy's parents had clearly expressed this to CASA, GaL, & Big B, it should not have happened. Yes, 1st A'mt rights violation. And pastor performing baptism may have been committed battery.

    ETA: Sorry to be slow in responding.
    Last edited by al66pine; 04-11-2017 at 10:26 PM. Reason: as shown

  14. #14
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    Consent from parents seems a non-issue. If the child is not in their legal custody (and it doesn't appear he was) they have no right to force religious indoctrination upon him. They were really out of line, IMO.
    All statements are my opinion only.

  15. #15
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    Unless the court completes TPR (which can take years) the parent still has rights despite not having custody - this covers things down to whether or not the child can go to a certain church, get ears pierced, go out of state with the foster parents on vacation.. this sounds like they still have custody as he was returned to the parent after being baptized. But I'm baffled as to why the GAL is involved but no DCFS/social worker? This just stinks of corruption and kids being farmed out to contracted agencies despite not really having a "need" or any real problems. Here they'd do an IEP for the sister and wouldn't look at the brother unless he was also having problems. Wonder what went down with the sister to instigate court proceedings for "behavioral issues". Even if he's "socially awkward" (and aren't we all at some point?) at the very most, he'd be pulled out of class for a social skills special with kids who have autism or other disorders that affect their social skills. This is not something there should be a GAL for.

    Quote Originally Posted by Betty P View Post
    Consent from parents seems a non-issue. If the child is not in their legal custody (and it doesn't appear he was) they have no right to force religious indoctrination upon him. They were really out of line, IMO.

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