> No More Secrets And Lies: Mary's Final Court Hearing – March 17, 2009

Friday, October 26, 2012

Mary's Final Court Hearing – March 17, 2009


A little over a week later we held court again. On March 17th at 11:00 am, the whole team met in the courtroom for one of Mary's review hearings. This would be one of the last hearings held in the beautiful old court house in the older part of Mankato. It would also be Mary's last hearing.

Mary waited outside the courtroom in leg shackles guarded by a police officer while the rest of us gathered in the courtroom. Her corrections officer began the hearing by stating that she was dropping Mary's case because it was too difficult to work with Mary's parents (meaning me) and that she was too stressed out and couldn't take it (meaning me, again) any longer. She was really worked up during this, and when she finally finished, the judge shook his head and turned to the social work supervisor to ask her what she thought,

"Are we ready to file CHIPS charges against these parents (meaning me) today?"

She hemmed and hawed and turned in her seat a bit, and then slowly replied,

"Not at this time, Your Honor. We'll wait and see how things go."

Which to me is the same thing as a threat. Either that, or a completely absurd thing to say about child abuse. Was she saying there was child abuse but she was going to wait until she felt like investigating it? Or was she saying there might be child abuse but she was going to wait until she was positive before she would investigate it? Either way, it was a very cavalier attitude to take about a very serious accusation. What I think she was saying was that she would take Mary away from me at a later date — when everything was ready. It was another one of her threats, but in retrospect, I should have taken it as a forewarning.

The judge then called on the guardian ad litem, literally praising him as he got out of his chair as the only sane voice in Blue Earth County when it came to children and the only one who knew anything about parenting (which is pretty remarkable for not having any children of his own).

"Mr. GAL, you know everything there is to know about kids. You're the final word on children here in Blue Earth County. Tell the court what you think about this dire situation we have here with the Brosnan parents."

It was enough to make me want to throw up. The GAL said something like,

"Well, your Honor, I think they're pretty bad parents, but I don't think we can charge them with child abuse, at this time."

At this time, it was getting pretty nuts in the courtroom, and I wasn't sure what they were going to say about me next, or whether Mary and I would both be in shackles before the day was over.

The judge waited for the GAL to finish and then proceeded to reprimand Karen and me for being the horrible parents that we were and for making life so horrible for our daughter. He was basically reading right out of the Tinius' script and was accusing us of being the cause of all of Mary's problems. He mentioned how many times he had seen us in court over the past two years and how long Mary had been in placement.

This was just more than I could stand, but I had to stand it. I had to sit there and listen to the people in this courtroom say things about me that were lies, and I couldn't say anything back. Not only were they lies, but I knew I was a great parent and here they were having a discussion about whether I should be charged with child abuse or not. I knew her workers didn't believe any of this, but it bothered me that the judge might. And I knew they weren't talking about Karen and me. They were talking about me. I knew Karen knew this too. But I sat there and listened to it, afraid that if I listened long enough I might start believing it myself. And then I remembered how Mary must have felt that day her workers drove down to Forest Ridge to tell her she was a bad person.

The judge continued…

"But while I don't think your daughter should be with either of you, I have no choice but to release her to you, since the corrections officer is dropping her case."

He shook his head in disgust and then hit his gavel and court was over. We left the courtroom.

Mary had been waiting in the hallway with her shackles on throughout the whole hearing, all the time guarded by her transport officer. She looked up at us as we filed out of the court room, wondering how things had gone. I couldn't wait to tell her that she was free and could finally go home. The officer took his key, unlocked her shackles, and removed them from her legs. Mary ran to me and hugged me. She couldn't believe what was happening. She hadn't been in a court house in two years without being bound in restraints, and now she was free to walk around outside a locked facility, and I honestly think, for that one moment, Mary was the happiest kid in the world.

She couldn't believe it, and neither could I. Finally her long "sentence" with Blue Earth County was over. Exactly two years and one day after she left her home, she was finally going to back to her home. "Home" would become her 25th move in that two-year period, and hopefully her last.

We all gathered in the hallway of the court house saying our goodbyes to each other. We had been through a long two years together. The guardian ad litem shook my hand and said he enjoyed working with me. He was the only one on the team who said anything to me, except for Mary's lawyer who then pulled me aside to tell me something. We kept our voices low.

"John. You need to know some things about Mary's case. You know, don't you, that Mary's workers never looked for foster homes in this area at all. They never looked for anything near Mankato. They didn't want her to be close to her home because they didn't want her to be close to you. And they didn't want her to ever come home because they didn't want you to ever have her. You know this, don't you?"

"Well, I thought so. I was pretty sure this was going on. I just couldn't tell anyone or I'd probably get blamed for causing trouble."

"You're right. You probably would have. But there's something else you need to know. Mary didn't even need to be in placement for the last half a year — ever since she was at Forest Ridge. They kept her just so they could get to you and get their neuropsych. You need to know this."

"Well, she's home now, so I guess it doesn't matter anymore. I'm just glad it's all over, and so is she. They can't do anything to us anymore."





6 comments:

Anonymous said...

you are unbelievable, have read your "edition of the truth" and all you do is blame everyone else and are the victim in everything. what a loser

John Brosnan said...

I appreciate your feedback, but I'm not sure what you're talking about? How do you know my daughter and I weren't victims? What things are you referring to?

Everything I've written is the absolute truth. Reporting what happened isn't the same as making it happen. I'm just the messenger. Maybe if more people would tell their stories these things would never happen. - John Brosnan

Unknown said...

Amen! I am going through a similar problem with my daughter in the system although I dont think our worker is quite as bad, regardless there are laws that need to be addressed and changed IMMEDIATELY! So anonymous, why dont they have a version of the story? I see no rebuttal from the "system"! Thank you John Brosnan for your story, and please pray for us as we need it! Michelle Stephenson msbruja1964@gmail.com

MICHELLE STEPHENSON said...

msbruja1964@gmail.com

MICHELLE STEPHENSON said...

Amen! I am going through a similar problem with my daughter in the system although I dont think our worker is quite as bad, regardless there are laws that need to be addressed and changed IMMEDIATELY! So anonymous, why dont they have a version of the story? I see no rebuttal from the "system"! Thank you John Brosnan for your story, and please pray for us as we need it! Michelle Stephenson msbruja1964@gmail.com

John Brosnan said...

Thanks Michelle.

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