PA Superior Court needs to choose between a father who will do anything to help and encourage his child vs. a mother and a court who desire the child jailed and uneducated.
No Solomon in Lawrence County PA
by Dave Thomas
C is in week 15 of his punishment and forced exile by Judge Motto and Lawrence County PA CYS with the agreement of his mother. He has been isolated from his dad, family, and friends for refusing live with his mother because he is afraid of her and refuses to submit to likely more physical, emotional, and psychological abuse by his mother and her family.
It has been some time since I have been able to post an update regarding C. The limiting factor has been the Pennsylvania privacy laws in force supposedly to protect minors’ privacy, giving them anonymity during dependency hearings. On the contrary, I find them to be laws enacted by lawyers to protect lawyers. My take is the “secrecy laws” have been put on the books in Pennsylvania more to cover-up unconscionable behavior and perversion of the law as has been exhibited in Lawrence County Courts and by CYS—not to protect children. I am told other states do not have these type “cover-up” laws and are thus much more transparent.
The Court and CYS have seen fit to punish C at the maternal family’s urging for his refusal to live with the maternal family and to accept further abuse. Motto and CYS have removed this 14-year-old honors student from a loving and supportive family life with his father and friends and where he was at the top of his classes. They have placed him with strangers where he lives in less-than-satisfactory conditions, many hours from his home and familiar surroundings. They have denied and terminated his education as of April 3. It appears they plan to keep him incommunicado until he reaches age 18 or “relents.”
I am still not permitted to know what has transpired under this cloak of “protection” afforded the conspirators—Judge Dominick Motto; Court Master Sue Papa; CYS participants; and Guardian ad Litem, Larry Puntureri. Puntureri, who was appointed by Motto, has stated he will not represent C’s desires to the court, but will go on record presenting what Motto wants the outcome to be.
As of my last post, a writ of habeas corpus was filed via the Western PA District Federal Court and assigned to Magistrate Judge Mitchell’s Court. Judge Mitchell expressed dissatisfaction with the events orchestrated by Judge Motto and LCCYS incarcerating C. Judge Mitchell set a date later in that week to give Motto a few days to reconsider the issue of C being jailed at Krause Youth Center. If Motto didn’t act, it appeared Judge Mitchell would take control and resolve C’s false imprisonment. The filing for habeas corpus caused the Kraus Youth Center administration to advise CYS they must remove C from Krause’s juvenile jail.
The very afternoon prior to Judge Mitchell’s scheduled hearing, CYS filed an emergency petition with Motto to release C from Krause into their custody.
Now CYS had the dilemma of what to do with C. CYS’ desperate solution was to place C in foster care, hours from his home, in an isolated part of PA, which CYS likely never reviewed or saw. He is allowed only a one-hour weekly visit (supervised by CYS) from his dad and a one-hour visit from his mother. No other interface with family, friends, or teachers is permitted. His address is not available to even send a card or letter. Forget about cookies. Thus he is sequestered and more isolated than when jailed at Krause by Motto and CYS. Murderer’s row inmates have more access to the outside world!
C’s mother has stated several times that she wanted C incarcerated at Krause for C’s refusal to return to her custody. She wants vindictive punishment for her son until he is age 18, rather than to see him thrive.
Now C’s mother acts out after she, for more than a year, ignored C and assumed no parental role—no phone calls, no birthday cards, not even a Christmas card. She disregarded his schooling and activities, even though she was invited to participate. She also refused several requests from C to go to joint counseling with him. She refused his offer to meet him for lunch so they might be able to have some relationship. Never did she initiate or propose any joint time together with C to try to resolve C’s fear of her.
The upside of her ignoring C and refusing to parent is that C has blossomed and thrived without her contact while living with his father. He rose to the top of his class academically, garnered many friends, participated as the school mascot, played two instruments in the school band, joined the Boy Scouts, and took classes to join the United Methodist Church. All of the foregoing have been taken away by the mother, Motto, and CYS as he is hidden in remote, rural Pennsylvania by CYS. “Best interest of the child?” I think not.
Judge Motto’s order remanding C to Krause Youth Center did not address C’s education or did not direct C to be educated in any way. Since C was jailed April 3, neither KYC, New Castle Area School District, nor the Hempfield Area School District (his former school) has provided any education commensurate with C’s needs as an 8th grade honors student. The only education provided was by KYC’s K-6 certified teacher in a one-room school house environment, 3 hours/day where students range from 10-18 years old. His instruction was 7½ hours/day in the “honors” program at his former school.
Since being in the foster care system under CYS control, CYS, Motto, and C’s foster family continue to repress and deny C any opportunity for education. The federal suit filed July 1 on C’s behalf by the Philadelphia-based Education Law Center is still alive and awaiting disposition in Judge Mitchell’s Court.
On July 8, 2015, an appeal to the PA Superior Court to overturn Motto’s custody order was held. The 15-minute presentation by each party’s counsel to a panel of 3 Superior Court Judges was thought to go well. We have no specifics as to when a decision will be forthcoming.
On July 1, 2015, a King’s Bench Petition to the PA Supreme Court was filed. (A Kings Bench action is enlisting the extraordinary jurisdiction of the Supreme Court over the inferior courts of a state in issues of immediate public importance.) It seeks expediency for matters needing resolved more quickly than the typical process, which can take months or years to complete. I believe the Supreme Court has 60 days, after counsel files briefs, to either render a decision or to refuse to hear the petition.
Dave Thomas is a retired electric utility operations manager, has been married for over 50 years to a woman who has served as a church secretary for over two decades. They presently live in Florida after living in same Pennsylvania community for 33 years. He is a former member of the Rotary International, Chamber of Commerce, and various state and national professional organizations.
The King’s Bench Application can be viewed here as a PDF file.
Although it is not a part of the story of C, this is another story about the corrupt courts of Lawrence County. And then, of course, there is the thoroughly outrageous story of Jordan Brown, consisting of many posts, but summarized here.
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