The Suffolk County Judge Joseph Johnson presiding over the case of Justina Pelletier in Boston ruled Monday to put the 15-year-old in foster care, according to the teenager’s father.
“It’s a foster care facility,” Lou Pelletier told TheBlaze, specifying that his daughter will be transfered to Shared Living Collaborative in Merrimac, Mass.
Ahead of Lou Pelletier speaking with the media, WTIC-TV’s reporter Beau Berman tweeted the courtroom news attributing it to “Reverend” at the time:
Berman later said said the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the D.C.-based Christian Defense Coalition, briefed the media outside Suffolk County Juvenile Court where the hearing took place and is speaking on the family’s behalf.
Berman also said Mat Staver, founder and chairman with Liberty Counsel, was serving in a similar role. Staver said in an interview with TheBlaze Monday afternoon that while he wasn’t allowed in the court room, he was informed by the family’s local lawyer and others that the judge ruled Justina be moved into foster care at a non-medical facility.
Staver explained that he wasn’t allowed in the court room while this decision was made because he had to motion to be allowed in as an attorney for the family. The judge didn’t immediately grant this motion, Staver said, and is allowing DCF 48 hours to contest it.
The teenager from West Hartford, Conn., became the subject of the custody battle between her parents — Lou and Linda Pelletier — and the Massachusetts Department of Children & Families after they disagreed with physicians at Boston Children’s Hospital over a medical diagnosis that was issued by a doctor at Tufts Medical Center.
For the last year, the Pelletiers have been in and out of court while their daughter remained in a psychiatric ward at BCH, until a few weeks ago when she was moved to another facility.
The Pelletier family’s reaction to today’s news was emotional. Lou Pelletier was seen yelling and at one point sitting on a bench crying, while Linda Pelletier fainted and was on her way to the hospital for evaluation, Staver said.
Berman tweeted more on the immediate reaction of the family.
Mahoney posted a picture of Linda being attended to by paramedics. Brewer also tweeted a picture of her being taken away in an ambulance:
Linda Pelletier, the mother of Justine, passed out in court after they Ordered her to a nonmedical facility. pic.twitter.com/cZawNLn10C
— Rev. Patrick Mahoney (@revmahoney) February 24, 2014
— Beau Berman WTIC TV (@BeauBermanFOXCT) February 24, 2014
Rhondella Richardson with WCVB-TV tweeted that Lou Pelletier was “crying” on a court bench while the family paced the halls directly after the ruling, not yet allowing an interview.
After the decision, Lou Pelletier told a producer at TheBlaze that the system was corrupt and the country could go to hell.
Ahead of the hearing, protesters organized in support of the Pelletier family holding signs that read “you can’t gag America” — alluding to the gag order imposed on Lou Pelletier, which DCF filed a motion last week asking that he be held in contempt of court for breaking — and “free Justina.”
“The Justina Pellitier case represents a troubling and disturbing trend of government officials usurping the rights of parents and disregarding their unique and special role in raising their children,” Rev. Mahoney, who organized events to support Terri Schiavo in Florida up until 2005, said in a statement ahead of the decision. “We call upon the State of Massachusetts to immediately return Justina into the loving arms of her parents so the healing process can move forward. We also call upon the faith community and people of good will across the nation to work tirelessly and passionately until this family is reunited.”
Staver told TheBlaze that while the “whole day was shocking,” the judge set dates for two new hearings on March 17 and March 24 to address the care and custody of Justina Pelletier further and to hear the case on Lou Pelletier’s alleged gag order violation. Staver plans to address whether the gag order was constitutional in the first place as well.
“Yesterday, I thought it was going to be agree upon that Tufts would be taking over her medical care,” Lou Pelletier told TheBlaze Tuesday.
Lou Pelletier said his family has been “teased with a carrot” that they could get Justina back. He said that the judge is asking that the family’s lawyer present the plan with doctors for Justina’s care for review but noted that they’ve been asked to present this information twice already.
Though Justina will be in a non-medical facility for the time being, Staver said she will be getting some medical treatment, though he did not specify what it would entail. Lou Pelletier said that he believes BCH doctors could still be “pushing behavioral modification,” which he considers “inhumane criminal behavior” on the part of the physicians.
Even with this latest decision, Staver said the family has hope.
“The hope is that soon custody and care will be put back with parents,” he said. “Yes, there’s still hope. They’re just kind of at their wits end.”
UPDATE: Author Liz Klimas joined Editor-in-Chief Scott Baker to discuss details of the case during Monday’s BlazeCast. You can watch that below:
This post has been updated to include TheBlaze’s interview with Lou Pelletier.