Apr 18, 2014 fbook icon twitter icon rss icon

Massachusetts

11Mother Frustrated After School Fails To Report Incident That Injured Her Daughter

Charges are being pressed against a 14-year-old Massachusetts boy after he gave a 14-year-old girl a deep gash above her left eye while “horsing around" at school.

The incident is receiving attention after the girl’s mother took to Facebook to share her frustration with how the school handled the injury. The mother said school administrators never called authorities to report the incident. They only called her and asked her to pick up her daughter from school.

“This is my 14 year old daughter, she was assaulted this morning by a boy in her school,” the mother writes. “The school never called authorities to report it…They called me to tell me to pick her up. I had to tell them to transport my daughter to the hospital. I leave work from Holyoke to Baystate and I still had to wait an additional 15-20 minutes for my daughter to arrive at the hospital.”

Massachusetts news station WGGB reports police will be charging the boy and are continuing to investigate the incident. A spokesperson for the girl’s school said disciplinary action has been taken against the male student and the school is fully cooperating with police during the investigation. 

Sources: WGGB, Imgur

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11Divorced Homeowners, Pay Attention: Massachusetts Bill Might Apply to You

A new bill has been proposed in Massachusetts that would restrict a divorced or soon-to-be-divorced parent’s activities within his/her home.

Specifically, Bill 787 would prohibit a divorcing parent from having sex in his/her own home until the divorce is finalized.

“In divorce, separation, or 209A proceedings involving children and a marital home, the party remaining in the home shall not conduct a dating or sexual relationship within the home until a divorce is final and all financial and custody issues are resolved, unless the express permission is granted by the courts,” states the bill.

The bill was filed by request by Sen. Richard J. Ross, Republican, who proposed it on behalf of constituent Robert LeClair.

As Think Progress reports, Ross is not in support of the bill; instead, he simply proposed it as a courtesy to LeClair, who wrote the bill.

The bill was first filed in early 2013. Last Thursday, it was granted an extension for consideration in the State House until June 30.

Although the bill would attempt to prohibit the sexual activities of a parent in the midst of a divorce, it does not specify what penalty such an act would result in.

Under current Massachusetts law, a waiting period of at least 120 days is required before a divorce becomes official. Bill 787 was referred to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary.

Sources: http://www.boston.com, http://thinkprogress.org, http://www.upi.com

Photo Source: http://www.counsellingme.co.uk, http://www.babble.com, http://www.genesismediators.com, http://www.divorceattorneywestpalmbeachfl.com, http://www.metro.us

11Heroic Mom Uses Her Body As Speed Bump When Car Begins Rolling With Twin Toddlers Inside

A Massachusetts mother threw herself in front of her car as it began to roll into oncoming traffic with her toddler twins inside.

Mindy Tran, 22, used her body as a “speed bump” to save her twin daughters Saleen and Sydney on March 6. She's been in the hospital ever since, recovering from a broken leg and dislocated hip and shoulder.

“My daughters and I are all right and keeping our heads up,” she told ABC News. “I’m lucky to be alive.”

Tran just moved her family into a new apartment this month after living in a shelter.

“It felt like I was starting a new life,” she told ABC from her hospital room. “The girls had started at daycare and we just moved in. It seems like when things are going too well, something bad will happen.”

She had just buckled her 2-year-olds into the backseat, when the car began rolling.

“I laid down horizontally, using my body as a speed bump to stop the car,” she said.

The car rolled over her, leaving her injured and stuck beneath it. Then a neighbor came to her aid, jumping inside and putting the car in park.

“My neighbor jumped in and he asked what I wanted them to do,” she said. “I said make sure my daughter’s got out of the car safely.”

“Firefighters responded to the apartment and they stabilized the car with wooden blocks and then used an airbag to lift the car off Tran,” said Lawrence Fire Department Chief John Marsh.

Tran was airlifted to a Boston-area hospital. There was no damage to the car.

“We’ve seen something like this before,” Marsh said. “It is an unfortunate accident and somehow her car wasn’t in gear.”

“I don’t consider myself a hero,” Tran said. “I am just a mother.”

Tran cannot walk and is expected to be hospitalized for several more weeks.

“I crushed my knee, injured my hips and dislocated a shoulder,” she said.

The medical facility has offered to let the twins throw a party there for their birthday, April 13.

Sources: ABC News, UPI

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11Case Against Anti-Gay Minister Scott Lively Still Being Pursued

On Feb. 24, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed that country’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law. The law, according to executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights Vincent Warren, instantly outlaws the ability of LGBTI people to advocate for their rights. Warren says in a column he wrote for the Huffington Post that “such a fundamental denial of rights to an entire class of people is illegal under international law as well as the Ugandan constitution.“

For that reason the CCR is continuing to pursue the anti-gay minister Scott Lively for the role he played in getting the legislation passed. According to their own website the CCR filed a federal lawsuit against Lively in the United States District Court of Massachusetts in March of 2012. The suit alleges that Lively’s action in anti-gay efforts in Uganda amounted to a conspiracy to strip away rights of LGBTI persons and constitutes persecution. 

The suit was filed under the Alien Tort Statute that allows U.S. courts to hold individuals accountable for committing “gross human rights violations” according to a story on the website Pink News.

Lively is a resident of Springfield, Mass., and the founder of Abiding Truth Ministries. Late last year he announced his bid for governor of Massachusetts. He also co-authored a book titled “The Pink Swastika” which says in its introduction “homosexuals [are] the true inventors of Nazism and the guiding force behind many Nazi atrocities.” Lively has denied all allegations in the lawsuit, including that he encouraged government-backed acts of violence against gays as a result of his rhetoric. 

He continues to contend that his actions are protected by the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech. He has dismissed the lawsuit as frivolous and says he doesn’t think it will hurt his chances as a gubernatorial candidate. 

"If anything, I think it will help me when people learn how ridiculous the lawsuit is," he was quoted as saying in the Massachusetts paper The Republican

Lively’s trial is still pending, though. In January, a federal judge set deadlines to file final motions and also denied Lively’s motion to dismiss the case. The next pretrial hearing is scheduled for May 6, 2015.

Sources: The Huffington Post, CCR, Pink News, The Republican

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11With Court Date Looming, Justina Pelletier's Father Speaks Out

With a Feb. 24 court date approaching, the father of Justina Pelletier has spoken.

Justina, just 15 years old, has been in the custody of the state of Massachusetts for slightly more than one year now. In February 2013, Justina caught the flu. For people in good health, the flu is typically an easily beaten – even if unpleasant – ailment. But Justina has been diagnosed with mitochondrial disease by Tufts University doctors. Mitochondrial disease can make even the most mundane sickness a legitimate health concern. Because of this, Justina’s parents checked her into Boston Children’s Hospital.

After three days in the hospital, BCH doctors delivered some unexpected news. They told the Pelletiers that Justina’s health problems – both the flu and her mitochondrial disease diagnosis – were not legitimate physical sicknesses. They thought Justina’s problems were psychosomatic and said she needed mental health help.

Shockingly, the Massachusetts accused the Pelletiers of over-medicating their daughter and took custody of her. That was one year ago. In the year since, the Pelletiers have spent time, money, and endless emotional energy fighting to regain custody of Justina.

Justina’s father Lou Pelletier spoke to The Blaze recently about his family’s fight.

“We need help,” he said. “I’m trying to save my daughter’s life.”

The Pelletiers are due back in court on Feb. 24.

“Now we go back the 24th, a week from today, and I want to have all my guns blazing,” Pelletier said. "We’re not going to make it much more."

His daughter Jessica, who is also diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, chimed in, as well.

“Our family, I don’t know how we survived this long,” she said.

The Pelletiers are hoping, as they have for more than a year now, to regain custody of Justina and continue the Tufts-recommended regiment that was successfully treating her mitochondrial disease.

“She needs physical therapy,” Lou Pelletier said. "She needs to be back on the vitamin cocktail. She needs to be treated for the goddamn diagnosis she had from the beginning. I need to save my daughter. If we don’t do something, she is going to die.”

The Pelletiers set up a PayPal account connected to freejustina.com in hopes of raising money to cover the legal bills from their struggle.  

Sources: The Blaze, Freejustina.com

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11Lowell Police Department Investigating Officers For Death Of Inmate (Video)

In response to the death of a woman who was being held in custody at a Massachusetts jail, four Lowell police officers have been placed on paid leave while they are investigated for their involvement in the incident. 

The woman, 31-year-old Alyssa Brame, was arrested in January 2013, according to WBUR. Brame died from acute alcohol poisoning around two hours after her arrest. 

The officers who were on duty at the time of Brame’s death are being accused of failing to properly attend to her obvious medical condition. Video evidence clearly depicts at least two officers dragging Brame into her cell because she is unable to stand up. 

“The combined investigations by the Middlesex district attorney and our own board of inquiry determined Ms. Brame was not given the proper medical attention that she was in obvious need of while in the custody of the Lowell Police Department," Lowell Police Department Superintendent William Taylor said in an official letter regarding the investigation. "In addition, policies and regulations of the Lowell Police Department specifically in place to prevent such a tragedy were violated.”

According to the Lowell Sun, the department is required to check on inmates every 30 minutes, but there was a 56-minute gap in time before Brame was checked on. Officers have attributed this gap in time to the fact that the employees changed shifts while Brame was in custody, and the new officers were not aware of her condition. 

District Attorney Marian Ryan defended the employees’ decision to keep Brame in the jail, claiming that hospitals might have been asking the department to cease sending so many individuals in their direction. 

“Over time, there appears to be a perception among police personnel that there was push-back from the hospitals regarding the number of prisoners being transported to the hospital for evaluation,” Ryan said. 

Taylor is also investigating three other employees who have not been placed on paid leave in an attempt to find who was responsible for the incident. 

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11Massachusetts Takes Custody Of Teen, Denies Her Treatment For Her Disease

A legal battle in New England is pitting a family against the Boston Children’s Hospital and the state of Massachusetts.

Several years ago, 15-year-old Justina Pelletier was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease – a rare genetic condition with a huge variety of symptoms ranging from loss of muscle coordination to learning disabilities. Justina’s 25-year-old sister Jessica has been diagnosed with the condition as well.

In February 2013, Justina caught the flu. For people with mitochondrial disease, the symptoms of illnesses are amplified. While the flu makes everyone who catches it feel terrible, it’s a full-fledged medical emergency for someone with mitochondrial disease.  Accordingly, Justina’s family checked her into the Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) to be monitored as her body fought off the virus.

After three days in the hospital, the medical team at Boston Children’s Hospital told Justina’s family some strange and unexpected news. Doctors believed all of Justina’s ailments – both the flu and her mitochondrial disease – were not legitimate physical illnesses. They believed her symptoms were psychosomatic.

Psychosomatic illness is defined as a sickness having physical symptoms but originating from mental causes. Despite an official mitochondrial disease diagnosis from Tufts Medical Center, the crew at BCH believed Justina’s ailments were mental in nature.

Justina’s family was understandably confused by the BCH team’s diagnosis. They decided they wanted to check Justina out of BCH and take her over to Tufts Medical Center, where she’d been treated for years for her mitochondrial disease. The doctors at BCH had other plans.

When the Pelletiers went to discharge Justina, they were told they wouldn’t be allowed to do so. BCH had filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families saying it suspected the Pelletiers of both child abuse and subjecting Justina to invasive treatments while denying her mental health help.

Today, one year later, Justina remains in the custody of the state of Massachusetts. Justina spent most of last year in a psychiatric ward and now lives in a residential treatment center. State medical officials have prescribed her mental health treatments and discontinued her mitochondrial treatments. The decision stems from their unwavering belief that Justina’s ailments are psychosomatic.

Prior to contracting the flu last year, Justina was an active teenager. Now, having gone a year without mitochondrial treatment, she is wasting away.

“She is going off a cliff,” father Lou Pelletier said. “She looks awful and is pale and her hair is falling out. Her gums are receding and she has no body strength.”

The Pelletiers are locked in a legal battle for their daughter. Massachusetts maintains custody of Justina and does not look to have any intentions of giving her up. The family wants to regain custody of their daughter and admit her to Tufts to resume her past medical treatments.

To help the Pelletiers do so, the Coalition for Diagnostic Rights filed a complaint against the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families accusing them of “medical child neglect and medical child abuse for failure to provide medical care” to Justina.

"Doctors are absurdly reckless when they exclude a medical investigation in favor of a vague somatoform diagnosis," a representative from the coalition said. "It's always a guess. This is a battleground where doctors and patients are fighting for authority."

Pelletier told ABC News that Justina’s doctor from Tufts has given them his emphatic support in their fight.

“He’s been crying on the phone with us,” Pelletier said.

While Pelletier acknowledges he is fighting an uphill battle – he recently referred to the situation as “fighting two goliaths” – he insists his family will do whatever it takes to regain custody of Justina.

“I have got to save my daughter’s life,” he said. “The system has failed. I am battling the medical world that thinks it knows everything.”

Sources: ABC, Boston Globe, Wikipedia

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11Elderly Woman Caught On Tape Stealing Samsung Galaxy Tablet At Panera Bread (Video)

An elderly woman was caught on video stealing a tablet computer from another customer who accidentally left it inside a Panera Bread, and police are looking for help in tracking her down.

Regina Sanchez of Windsor, Conn., a business owner, says she had just finished a meeting at the restaurant when she accidentally left the $500 Samsung Galaxy Tablet behind.

The incident happened at the Burlington Plaza Shopping Center in Massachusetts in September, but the video was uploaded to YouTube by local police a few days ago, The Inquisitr reports.

The suspect’s purse was reportedly a Vera Bradley, the same brand as the victim’s tablet cover, coincidentally.

The video shows an older couple at Panera Bread. A younger woman at their table points out the tablet on a window sill. The older woman then walks over and places it under the table before putting the tablet into her purse, WHDH reports.

“That looks like a grandma!” said Sanchez, who thought the suspect would be a teenager. “It’s despicable. She was good. She looked like a master thief. The hard part about this is I earned that tablet. I’m a single mom, trying to get on my feet. I can’t replace it.”

Sanchez had been working with the restaurant and police to get the video.

“Criminals just do stuff like that,” Burlington Police Lt. Glen Mills said. “It’s kind of natural for them to do things like that. We’re not like that. If you’re a good person you would feel bad and you’d be really nervous. For them it’s just kind of natural. Most of the people that we catch committing crimes are younger. It’s something most people grow out of as they get older. They usually know better when they get older.”

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11Supreme Court To Hear Case On Protesting Outside Abortion Clinics

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a case Wednesday on the right to protest near abortion clinics.

Anti-abortion activists have challenged a Massachusetts state law that forbids them from protesting or handing out materials within 35 feet of an abortion clinic.

The state's "selective exclusion law" makes it a crime for people who are not clinic employees or agents to "enter or remain on a public way or sidewalk" within 12 yards of "a reproductive health care facility."

Activists say this law has kept them from talking with patients who want to enter a clinic. Protesters argue that their First Amendment rights don’t end just because they are in close proximity to the clinic’s door.

"It's time for the Supreme Court to put an end to these perverse attempts to silence pro-life speakers," said Dana Cody, the president of the anti-abortion Life Legal Defense Foundation. "Massachusetts is grasping at straws and its bubble zone law flies in the face of the very notion of freedom of speech."

"Too many times, we've seen the Supreme Court pass a death sentence on voiceless children in the womb. It would be yet another injustice to silence any person who speaks out on behalf of these children," said Lila Rose, the president of Live Action. "The Constitution of the United States does not become void as one gets close to an abortion facility."

Last year a federal appeals court ruled that "the right of the state to take reasonable steps to ensure the safe passage of persons wishing to enter health care facilities cannot seriously be questioned."

"Massachusetts' buffer zone statute strikes the right balance between ensuring safe access to medical facilities and preserving freedom of expression," argued state Attorney General Martha Coakley. "This law has enhanced public safety in a fair and constitutional manner."

Anti-abortion activists say the law shouldn’t apply to peaceful protestors and those who just want to hand out reading material.

"The prohibition applies even to speakers who are entirely peaceful, do not engage in any obstructive or intimidating conduct, and seek only to proffer leaflets, engage in consensual conversations, or even just stand and display a sign or pray,” said Mark Rienzi, a Catholic University law professor.

A ruling is expected by June.

Sources: AFP, CNN

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11Sam Berns, Massachusetts Teen With Progeria, Dies At Age 17

A Foxborough, Massachusetts high school student whose battle with progeria has served as an inspiration for others with the rare aging disease, died at age 17 last Friday night. The student, Sam Berns, died at home with his parents by his side, according to the Boston Globe. 

Sam’s parents, Leslie Gordon and Scott Berns, have been instrumental in advancing progeria research ever since their son was diagnosed early on his in life. Both Leslie and Scott are doctors, and Gordon managed to successfully isolate the gene responsible for the disease in 2003. Gordon subsequently began administering a drug treatment to her son that allowed him to surpass his life expectancy of age 13, and many others around the world suffering from the disease also sought her treatment. 

Progeria is a genetic disease that causes the body to age rapidly beginning at an early age. Other notable individuals afflicted with the disease include Leon Botha, DJ for the South African hip-hop group Die Antwoord. Botha, an artist as well as a DJ, was one of the world’s oldest survivors of progeria before he passed away at age 26. 

Berns was notable for the humble and honest ways in which he discussed his disease, an approach which gained him several supporters around the world including New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Berns recently spoke at a TED event regarding his experiences. 

“Even though there are many obstacles in my life, I don’t want people to feel bad for me. I don’t think about these obstacles all the time, and I’m able to overcome most of them anyway,” Berns said during the recent TED talk.

In an interview with ABC News, Berns also explained that he hoped that his mother would one day be able to stop researching his disease. 

“I kind of just want my mom to be done with progeria for her sake, because my mom will keep working forever until progeria is cured,” he said. 

Berns is the subject of the HBO documentary “Life According To Sam,” which earned a spot on the Academy Award shortlist for its depiction of Sam’s life and his parent’s research.

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