Maragaret Jean Hatch, a 29-year-old Virginian with Down’s syndrome, is in the middle of a heated legal battle with her parents as she tries to live independently.
Hatch’s parents, mother Julia Ross and stepfather Richard Ross, say that Hatch is incapable of living independently. According to a report filed to the court, Hatch “lies, causes confusion, is inappropriate behaving with men, contacts neighbors relentlessly, and is obsessed with others who are nice to her.”
Hatch, who goes by “Jenny”, has allegedly run away from home several times without warning and lacks the mathematical ability to, for example, calculate how much change she is due after making a purchase. But there are two sides to the story. On one hand you have Hatch’s parents saying Jenny is unfit for independence, and on the other you have a group of friends and former assisted living supervisors who say Hatch is capable of supporting herself without supervision.
Hatch’s friends want her to move in with them so that she can continue working at a thrift shop, riding her bike, hanging out at her local Republican headquarters, and watching cooking shows as she has been.
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A supervisor from Hatch’s former assisted living home in Hampton, Virginia says she was not a good fit at the home because it is “designed for individuals who are not as advanced and acclimated as Jenny.”
The legal battle has been going on for over a year and is not finished yet. Jenny’s friends have launched a “Justice for Jenny” campaign in an effort to raise awareness on her fight for independence.
Hatch is not willing to live with her parents at this time, so the case appears to have two polarizing outcomes: full independence or full supervision in an assisted living home.
In a recent court session, Hatch was escorted out of the court room when she abruptly announced “I don’t want guardianship. I don’t need it.”