Before starting my own story, I'm going to bring you up to date with Jude's story which I started back in 2010. I told you that it reminded me of the Rape of Gertrude Perkins and all the bad stuff that happened in the pre-civil rights era. However, I didn't tell you why. I just gave you background. Jude was in the middle of the litigation process and I was concerned that publicizing details of her case would jeopardize it.
That is how they isolated us from each other and from the public. We weren't supposed to talk about what they were doing to us to anyone. But she talked about it to me. I can't see how my silence can help her anymore, and she's not in a good place, so publishing the whole story can't really hurt her more than she has already been hurt.
Basically, Jude got in trouble at work because she reported test tampering to her principal who then, instead of supporting her, turned against her.
At about the same time, Jude found out that her husband, father of her three children, was gay. I won't go into the details of how she found out, but she was able to confirm that he had been having unprotected sex with large numbers of gay men throughout their marriage.
She filed for divorce and gave him joint custody of the children. She didn't try to cut him out of the children's lives, and I guess he got the idea that she would keep his secret and allow him to remain in the closet. However, somehow it got out anyway, as secrets often do. The only person that she talked to about it was her minister, so draw your own conclusions.
Within just a few months of each other, Jude had two life events that left her principal and coworkers mad at her for outing the test tampering in the school, and her husband and his whole family angry at her for opening the closet door. A few months after these two events happened, Jude's husband visited her school and spent a long time with the principal in her office. He did this on several other occasions. Both the husband and the principal were from the island of Jamaica, and were very possibly blood related.
For the next few years, Jude describes escalating harrassment in the school and at home. I'll skip over the harrassment at school, because that was fairly standard stuff. At home, things would happen like this: her washing machine broke down, she called the repairman, and he told her that someone had gone into the washing machine and intentionally removed a vital piece of the machinery. At that time, Jude was living alone with her three small children. She hadn't removed it and they were incapable of doing so. Draw your own conclusions. Over and over again she found things "different" when she came home, like somebody had been there while she had been at work, and had done some small damage to let her know they had been there. She also found voodoo stuff on her front door and car. This went on for years.
Did I mention that Jude' principal lives in the same neighborhood and has been seen driving past Jude's house on multiple occasions?
Jude's reaction to this harrassment would seem the logical thing to do if you thought we lived in a just society without racisim, sexism, or classism, and that the police are our friends. I guess that's what Jude thought. She reported every inicident of harrassment in school, and she reported each weird breakin to the local police. The police, instead of writing her reports up as breakins, but them down as domestic disputes.
None of this was like the Rape of Gertrude Perkins--but here it comes: The unimaginable, for anyone who thinks we've made some progress since the 1950's.
In August of 2008, about seven years after she first reported the test tampering and found out that her husband was gay, a group of boys in the neighborhood stood on Jude's front lawn and yelled insults and threats about what they were going to do to her daughter. Jude called her husband and asked him to drive out to Long Island from his home in the Bronx. She also called the police. Three hours later, the crowd of boys had dispersed. The husband showed up and so did the police. Jude came out to talk to the police about why she had called them. They sent her inside to get the divorce papers and her mortgage papers. She was sole owner of the house. When she came out they put handcuffs on her. Her two youngest children were given over to her husband. She was taken to a hospital and admitted without her consent under the care of a psychiatrist named Dr. Aronson (real name).
The police informed the doctor that neighbors had told them that Jude walked around the neighborhood naked. That she had been unemployed for two years, and that she couldn't pay her rent--that she was basically a crazy homeless person. Aronson kept her there for eight days and billed her insurance for it. He talked to her and to selected family members -- the ones she had problems with. He didn't talk to any friends or family members who were on her side. They didn't even know she was there.
As she was walking around the ward one day she saw a notice on the bulletin board saying that she had a right to a lawyer. They couldn't keep her there indefinitely without her permission. Long story short, Jude got her day in court. I have the transcript. It reads like a movie. On one side you have a black woman with her white court-appointed attorney. On the other side you have a white psychiatrist, the white attorney representing the hospital, and in the middle you have the white judge--State Supreme Court judge.
Aronson makes the case that Jude is a "delusional disorder persecutory subtype". Then Jude testifies. She is unmedicated, having refused to take any medication during her eight days at the hospital. If you go back and read her story, I mentioned that she graduated at the top of her class at Bronx High School of Science. It shows.
Unemployed for two years? Jude has paystubs for the last two years.
Can't pay her rent? Jude is a homeowner whose mortgage is up to date. In fact, she's very worried about having missed a mortgage payment while in the hospital.
Schizophrenic? She just got back from a two-week vacation in the Bahamas with her children, which she had planned and saved for all year.
Paranoid? She talks about her washing machine and a few other incidents. She talks about what the boys were shouting at her daughter--the reason that she called the police in the first place.
Walking around in the nude?-- There's Jude, sitting in court conservatively dressed and carrying herself with dignity even after everything that has happened to her and everything that has been said about her.
The judge found in her favor and ordered the hospital to let her go. She walked free, home to an empty house. Surely her children would be returned to her, based on the outcome of the hearing. But no, Dr. Aronson went to family court and gave the same testimony against her. This time it stuck and Jude never got her children back. What is more, his testimony, more than anything else is the weapon that was used against her to send her to the Rubber Room, to bring charges against her in a 3020a hearing, and to suspend her for eight months.
I have read her charges and a suspension of eight months was way overboard for what she was charged with. She was suspended on the basis Aaronson's testimony against her which the hearing officer had read, even though that isn't the official story.
The eight-month suspension is over, but they won't put Jude back to work. She's supposed to get a psychiatric evaluation before they'll let her back. Meanwhile, Jude has had to empty out her savings in order to keep up her mortgage payments.
She still hasn't gotten her kids back and is worried about one of her daughters who ran away from the father, was put in foster care, dropped out of school (she was on the honor role when she lived with Jude), is now living on the street without a high school degree but with a boy who is rumored to be a drug dealer. Congratulations Dr. Aaronson and Child Protective Services.
Jude's story is long and convoluted, but the transcript of her sanity hearing reads, as I said before, like the script of a play or a movie. I wonder if the Occupy Wall Street people might like to hear a reading of it by some young actors. I think they deserve some good entertainment in addition to their General Assemblies. Maybe I'll put part of the transcript up on this blog for the entertainment of everyone on the World Wide Web. Maybe Wikileaks would like a copy.
Let it reverberate like the voices of people in Liberty Square, Washington Square, and Times Square. Let it reverberate all over the world.