Rev. Patrick Mahoney confronted Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and asked him to release Connecticut teen Justina Pelletier.
"I agree," replied Governor Deval Patrick today, April 24, but said it is a matter for the courts.
Rev. Mahoney reminded the Governor, that the teen, currently housed at Wayside in Framingham, has "not been allowed to go to church in 14 months" and is "not being educated."
"You need to release her now," said Mahoney. "We need a re-unification plan."
Mahoney told the Governor he appreciated his work with civil rights in the past, and let's now "work on this girl's civil rights."
"She can't even walk and she is not being educated," Mahoney told the Governor Wednesday.
"She should be in Connecticut," said Patrick. "We have appeared in court to have her sent home to Connecticut. Believe it or not the court has jurisdiction not us."
Editor's Note: You can watch the Governor's conversation with Rev. Mahoney as Patch attached the video to this report.
Justina has been at Wayside Youth & Family Services in Framingham since January 2014.
The custody case has garnered national attention and created a FreeJustina movement. A judge recently decided she should remain under the care of Massachusetts' Children & Families division.
Pelletier, who has been diagnosed and treated by Tufts Medical Center doctors for mitochondrial disorder, a rare genetic disease, was sent to Boston Children’s Hospital for a bout with the flu in February 2013. Her regular doctor was unavailable at the time.
Doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital reportedly disagreed with the diagnosis and instead diagnosed Pelletier with somatoform disorder, a mental illness characterized by pain and gastrointestinal symptoms that have no identifiable physical cause.
The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families then took custody of Justina, when the Pelletiers, who live in West Hartford, CT., disagreed with the Boston hospital's treatment.
Following new legal pressure asserted by Liberty Counsel, the Massachusetts Department of Children & Families permitted the most recent visitation to be unsupervised.
Rev. Mahoney, a nationally known pro-life activist, accompanied Lou and Linda Pelletier to visit Justina.
Justina also asked, “Why can’t I go home with my parents?”
There have been weekly protests in Framingham to #FreeJustina.