I believe that my civil rights were violated and that I was discriminated
against based on the perception of mental illness. Ten years after divorcing my
battering husband, I was assaulted by my roommate. Initially I did not want to
file a complaint against him for several reasons. First, I was physically ill.
Secondly, I knew what I would have to go through if I filed a complaint.
Thirdly, a friend who introduced us pleaded with me not to press charges.
After the local police convinced me to file a complaint, the man was
arrested. He and his friends immediately retaliated. They violated both the
judges' terms and conditions of release and an Order For Relief of Abuse (ORA).
The local police refused to enforce the two judges' orders. I was frightened
after the local chief of police entered my home without a warrant and threatened
me with criminal prosecution if I did not permit a violation of the ORA. I did
not feel safe in my home. I stayed in hotels. I started having panic attacks. I
was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I contacted the local mental
health organization repeatedly and was put on a waiting list. I went back into
therapy with my former therapist. I changed the locks, installed alarms on the
doors and searched for an attorney. I contacted the victims advocate, legal aid
and the domestic violence center to no avail. I sought legal representation and
attempted to file a complaint with the Vermont State Police. I was told point
blank that I could not file a complaint against the officer because "We take
care of our own."
After interviewing my neighbors about me, not the man who was arrested, the
police contacted my mother who severely abused me as a child. She told them that
I was mentally ill and not taking my medication. I was not on any medication. I
was in therapy. The local police persuaded the State Attorney's Office to drop
the charges against the man who assaulted me because "I was not a credible
witness due to my mental illness." He had confessed to assaulting me in front of
me and two police officers. He showed them the object with which he assaulted me
at the time of his arrest. I was there.
I was told that if I could prove that I was not mentally ill, that only
then would the State Attorney's Office consider reinstating the charges against
him. I tape recorded the conversation. I have the tape in my possession.
When I did not drop the complaint against the police officer, I was falsely
accused of arson. I was investigated by the State Police after the local police
made false statements about me. When I requested a copy of the report, my right
under state law, my requests were ignored. I was subsequently arrested fro
stalking a police office and his wife. I did not even know their names much the
less engage in stalking them. Ironically, I was volunteering at a batterer's
intervention program as the voice of the victim. I had not history of arson or
violence. I had no criminal record. I had never been committed to a mental
I was arrested and placed in Vermont State Hospital. I was suffering from a
gallstone that was 3/4 of an inch in diameter, a hemorrhaging uterine tumor and
a neurological disorder that may be Lyme Disease. My current physician has
ordered testing at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center fro Lyme Disease. I had
surgeries for both the gallstone and the uterine tumor after being discharged
from Vermont State Hospital. I was told that my medical conditions were a
symptom of my mental illness while at Vermont State Hospital.
I was forced into solitary confinement for being demanding and manipulative
when I asked repeatedly for a doctor. I was not permitted off the small ward or
outdoors for nearly four months after I told the doctor that I was severely
claustrophobic and suffering from Post Traumatic Stress disorder. My uterine
tumor was described by my psychiatrist as a "delusion" on an application for
forced antipsychotic drugging. My friend of ten years, a 30 year veteran of the
Tampa Police Department and instructor at the police academy, flew from Tampa to
Vermont for my commitment hearing. He was not permitted to testify by my
attorney. I was never read my rights.
I was accused by the wife of the police officer of handing her a photograph
of Osama Bin Laden and a photograph of a woman attacking a child. There was
neither a child nor Osama Bin Laden in either photograph. This was pointed out
in court. She was delusional not I. One advocate at the hearing stated that if
he were not told who was who, he would have concluded that she not I was the
person suffering from mental illness. The police officer commented that the
witness appeared to be mentally ill not I. There was no physical evidence or
other witnesses to confirm her accusations against me.
I was committed by the judge who stated in her decision that I had
committed those acts even though there was no criminal proceeding. I was not
permitted to know my defense strategy by my attorney. I was not permitted to use
the psychiatrist of my choice for my independent examination. I was deprived of
due process. I was falsely imprisoned. I was deprived of medical care and my
civil liberties. I was coerced into taking medication by the threat of continued
imprisonment or forced drugging or both.
After my release, I was hounded by the State Attorney's Office at my home
and my church. I was prosecuted to the tune of $10,000 in legal fees for two
misdemeanor charges. I finally was given the offer of court diversion after my
attorney was repeatedly denied access to state's evidence (discovery) and
exculpatory evidence was destroyed. It was revealed that I was handcuffed and
shackled to the floor in a cell for 15 hours prior my psychiatric exam, denied
anti-anxiety medication in my purse and denied access to an attorney for 10 days
after my arrest.
I want to bring suit against the police, the hospital and the State
Attorney's Office for violating my civil rights, false imprisonment and denial
of medical services. One newspaper has carried my story. The US Department of
Justice CRIPA Division threatened to sue Vermont State Hospital after a year
long investigation revealed that doctors routinely misdiagnosed patients,
exposed them unnecessarily to dangerous drugs and civil rights violations among
other serious problems with quality of care. The report was released 3 months
after my release. A state investigation of my case concluded that there were
substantial grounds for my complaints against the hospital. Please help me find