Judge Postpones Ruling on Teen Held by State

Mar 21, 2014


Boston, MA – Today, Judge Joseph Johnston postponed the ruling on the custody of Justina Pelletier, who has been held by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families for 14 months. The judge will issue a ruling on Tuesday.

“After 14 months of separation and torment, we need to get Justina home as soon as possible,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “It is where she wants to be. It is where she belongs.”

Fourteen months ago, Justina, now fifteen years old, was legally kidnapped by Massachusetts DCF after her parents took her to Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) to see Dr. Flores, a physician who had treated Justina before at Tufts Medical Center for gastrointestinal problems.

DCF has refused to provide adequate medical care, has refused to allow Justina access to a clergy or communion, and even refused to provide any education for her.

In January of 2013, before she was admitted to the ER at BCH, Justina was involved in ice-skating competitions and was in a private school under an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for a learning disability. Now, she is weak and in a wheelchair. Without any education, she has fallen at least two years behind her classmates. DCF has allowed the parents only one hour per week to visit their daughter, but always with a DCF worker or workers present. DCF has prevented the parents from taking a cell phone to photograph their daughter. Last month, DCF even filed a motion to hold Lou Pelletier in contempt of court for speaking to the national media.

“In all my years in practice, I have never seen a more barbaric overreach by a state agency,” Staver said. “Judge Johnston needs to return Justina to her family that loves her.”

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.


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