A Staten Island Teen who committed suicide was reportedly subjected to angry outbursts from his mother, who drank heavily.
When Danny Fitzpatrick hung himself in the attic of his home just days before his 14th birthday, his parents blamed the death on bullying and administrators at Holy Angels Catholic Academy in Brooklyn, the New York Post reported.
But according to a report filed with the New York City’s Administration of Children’s Services, there’s more to the story.
“Danny said mom being drunk affects him in everything and makes him angry,” the report stated, according to The Washington Post. “He said dad also drinks but controls himself more than mom.”
The report goes on to say that Danny “can’t remember a time when mom was not drunk often.”
“Danny denies physical abuse by mom and dad, but says Kristen, his older sister, hides him in the attic or his room when mom is drunk,” the report continued. “He says his dad and Kristen protect him.
“Danny denies suicidal thoughts, but feels angry, sad, has thoughts of wanting to run away. Mother is blaming his teachers for his failures and has written several accusatory letters to school. Student is afraid of both parents anger.”
The report was filed last Fall. Parents and students at the school have since confirmed that Danny had a rough life at home.
“I knew he was having trouble,” one parent, a retired NYPD detective, told the New York Post. “I was trying to be a friend.”
The former detective said his daughter also tried to reach out to Danny.
“He was angry because he lost a volleyball game,” he recalled. “He told her, ‘I should punch you because we lost.’”
Danny was also being bullied at school. He had written a letter naming his tormenters, and outlining the abuse.
“I gave up,” Danny wrote. “The teachers either they didn’t do anything!”
Danny’s father posted the letter on Facebook, along with several videos.
“To the parents of the boys that tormented my son, all I have to say is that I hope you never never have to feel what my family is going through right now,” Danny’s father said in one video. “You get to hold your children for the rest of your lives and their natural lives. I don’t get to do that anymore.
“Your little monsters took that from me and my wife and his sisters.”
“They are extending that abuse to other parents’ children by doing this online,” the former detective said of the Facebook post.
Scott Rynecki, the family’s lawyer, dismissed the report as an attempt at a cover-up by the school. Rynecki showed The Washington Post a letter from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, which states that child protective services found “no credible evidence” to suggest they had "been abused or maltreated."
“Therefore,” the letter continues, “the report has been determined ‘unfounded.’”
“The belief is that the Catholic school themselves put in some sort of claim and spoke to the child and somehow twisted his claims,” Rynecki told The Washington Post. “ACS issued a letter, which fully and completely exonerated the family.”
Rynecki called the suicide a “tragic situation that should never have occurred.” He said his firm is considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the school for failing to have “a proper bullying prevention program.”