Justina Pelletier's Father Faces Contempt Charge in Custody Battle

Monday, 24 Feb 2014 11:03 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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The father of 15-year-old Justina Pelletier faces court on Monday, after the Massachusetts Department of Children and Family filed a contempt of court complaint against him for violating a gag order.

Justina Pelletier has been in the eye of a court custody battle for more than a year between her parents in Connecticut and officials in Massachusetts, WTIC-TV reported. Judge Joseph Johnston issued a gag order on Nov. 7, 2013, permitting the parents from discussing the case publicly. 

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Since then, Pelletier's father, Lou Pelletier, has talked publicly to talk show host Glenn Beck. Additionally, the the Massachusetts Department of Children and Family is citing articles on  The Blaze and New York Daily News as evidence of Pelletier's violation of the gag order.

"We are David, not against Goliath, but against two Goliaths – Boston Children's Hospital and the State of Massachusetts," Lou Pelletier told ABC News on Feb. 10. "To me it's a hopeless cause and the only way to win is in the court of public opinion." 

Lou and Linda Pelletier, of West Hartford, Conn., said that their daughter was diagnosed and being treated at Tufts Medical Center for mitochondrial disease, a rare genetic disorder with physical symptoms that can affect every part of the body. They said that their older daughter is being treated for the same disease.

Last February, physicians at Boston Children's Hospital said the girl's disease was psychosomatic — which meant that Pelletier’s problems were caused by a mental illness and not by physical ailments, according to ABC News.

The hospital, suspecting the parents of child abuse, subsequently filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, claiming they over-medicated their daughter and refused to give her access to mental health therapy.

The Pelletiers refused a sign a Boston Children's treatment plan for their daughter and tried to check her out of the hospital on Feb. 14, 2013, to take her back to Tufts, but the hospital resisted.

"We never got anything in writing," Lou Pelletier told ABC News. "While all the security guards were showing up, we actually called 911 and said our daughter had been kidnapped by Boston Children's Hospital."

WTIC-TV reported that a judge transferred custody of the teenager to the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families on Feb. 14, 2013.

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