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Young Man Wants Brothers
March 11, 2009 permalink
Senior family lawyer Jeffery Wilson has filed an application on behalf of an eighteen-year-old boy to get custody of his younger brothers, liberating them from foster care and harmful psychiatric treatment.
Teen pleads for custody of brothers
Decade-long battle sparks request to court
March 10, 2009, Susan Pigg, LIVING REPORTER
An 18-year-old from Mississauga yesterday made the unprecedented request to be granted custody of his two younger brothers in hopes of bringing an end to a decade of family "warfare."
"My concerns are not as to (which parent) is 'right' or 'wrong'... but how to bring back some sanity to our family," says the teen's eight-page affadavit to the court. "My brothers and I are close. I think we have become closer with all the conflict. I am determined to make sure they are not harmed."
The teen claims his parents' ongoing conflict has turned his siblings into "subjects of some social engineering experiment."
There are many issues involved, but at its core the case is about parental alienation, or warring parents using their children as weapons against each other.
The soft-spoken teenager, who will soon turn 19, says his 12- and 14-year-old brothers are "at risk of serious harm," and he's prepared to put his education on hold, move out of his father's subsidized apartment and apply for welfare – or sue his parents for support – so he can raise his brothers and "end the conflict."
The two boys have been in foster care since last December, after they declined to participate in what the older brother considers "voodoo science" – a controversial family workshop by U.S. parental alienation expert Randy Rand – and then refused to return to live with their mother, the custodial parent.
The mother, concerned about her sons' mental stability and the ongoing alienation, had the younger ones admitted for an assessment by a child and adolescent psychiatrist at St. Joseph's Health Centre.
After five weeks, the doctor became concerned the children felt "so trapped in the legal system," and that it might create a dangerous sense of despair, so he recommended that they be taken into Children's Aid Society care.
The court filings paint a picture of a severely dysfunctional family and, according to the teen's lawyer, Jeffrey Wilson, one of the most "extreme" cases of parental alienation to come before a family court judge in Ontario.
None of the family members can be named, along with identifying details of the case, by court order.
The mother, who separated from the father in 1999, has accused him of an orchestrated campaign to turn the boys against her.
She fears the teen is an "agent" of the husband and really trying to help him win custody through a back door.
The father and eldest son have accused her of physically abusing the boys.
The teen asked Justice Steven Clark to make him a party to the ongoing court case yesterday in a Brampton courtroom. He also asked Clark to forbid parental alienation experts from having anything more to do with his brothers.
"My brothers have ended up being committed in a hospital against their wishes, committed to live somewhere they do not want to live, exposed to psychiatrists who have attempted to carry out experimental therapy with them at the risk of severe harm to them, and if their lawyer will not do anything to stop this, I believe I have the right as their brother to be as concerned about them as each of my parents," he says in his affidavit.
The teen said he's done "a lot of homework now on `parental alienation' and those who believe it to be a `science.'" and recognizes that he has to fight for his brothers on his own because his father has been "tainted" by the court proceedings.
"I am almost 19 years of age. Neither my mother nor my father ought to be able to prevent me from taking all the necessary measures to protect my brothers and present my own plan (for raising them.)"
His mother's affidavit stresses that the teen, who holds down a part-time job and completed Grade 12 despite the stress of the case, has neither the income nor the ability to care for his siblings.
"The best thing (he) could do now is get on with his life, and get treatment for his alienation from me, as per court orders," the mother's affidavit says. "This would be in his best interest, and provide the best example for his brothers."
His father is unemployed and lives in assisted housing, so is unable to provide any real financial support to him, the mother says.
A ruling on the teen's request for standing is expected April 20.
Source: Toronto Star