I worked most of the day trying to get both 66 and 67 done so you would have some idea of what’s happening with the two children.
This is pretty long as alot of information had to go into it.
Hope you like this,
“Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!” Tanya screamed as she drove away from the hospital. How the hell was she going to explain this? Worse yet, not having access to the hospital was going to make doing her job very difficult. Kids were routinely taken to the hospital when they were removed from the home for abuse allegations. She didn’t understand what this was all about, but things were getting out of hand.
Peter returned to the isolation room and pushed the button on the intercom. “April, keep that door locked. Don’t let anyone in here without talking to me first, understand?” he asked.
April looked at Peter and said “Alright. No one comes in unless I call. What about lab and housekeeping?” she asked.
“Draw the blood for the lab and put it in the transfer box. We can do without housekeeping for a day or two. Trust me, no one without my approval.” he answered.
“OK Peter, no one.” she answered him.
“April, that lady wanted to remove Billy from this hospital. Any sane individual would look at him and not even consider that an option. There’s something going on, and I’m going to get to the bottom of it.” he told her.
He left the unit then and made his way back to his office.
As soon as she saw him, Michelle said “Peter, you just missed a call. You need to call them back right now.”.
“It can wait a few minutes Michelle.” he said.
“No Peter, now. It’s about Billy.” She said handing him the message slip.
Peter took the paper into his office and closed the door.
Twenty minutes later Rachael was just finishing folding laundry when the phone rang. “Hello?” she answered.
“Rachael?” a voice she vaguely remembered asked.
“Yes, this is she.” she answered.
“Good. This is Dr. Peter Richardson from the hospital. I took care of Billy when he was done with his surgery, remember?” he asked.
“Sure Doc, how are you?” Rachael asked.
“Rachael I need to ask you, who is representing your sister and her husband?” Peter asked her hurriedly.
“What are you talking about? Representing them for what?” she asked perplexed.
“Rachael, Social Services took Becky and Billy from the home this morning. I need to know who is representing you sister and her husband, it’s important.” he explained.
“What? Why would they take the kids?” she asked.
“PLEASE Rachael, tell me who their attorney is!” he insisted.
Rachael, not understanding any of this, answered “My husband would be who Rick and Sharon would turn to for legal advice. He’s a lawyer.” she answered scared now.
Picking up the message slip on the desk, Peter said “Rachael, get this number to him as soon as possible.” and he read the number to her. “Promise me you’ll get it to him now.” he told her with insistence.
“OK, I’ll call him right now.” she answered.
“Good, when you’re done, call me right back.” and he gave her his cell number.
Rachael immediately called Frank. When he answered she said “Honey, what the hell is going on? Why have they taken the kids from Sharon?” with fear in her voice.
Frank answered “Rach, I don’t know what is going on. I found a court order at the house here that states they got a complaint about Billy being forced to dress and act like a baby. That was the basis for them being removed. I can’t get a hold of anyone that can answer a question at Social Services. I’m trying to find out, I’ll call you when I know more.” he finished.
“Wait! Dr. Richardson just called me and told me to have you call this number. He insisted that you call as soon as possible.” she told him and then read the number to him.
“Alright, I’ll make the call now.” he told her.
Rachael said goodbye and called Peter back. “What is this all about?” she asked.
“Look, I can’t tell you what the call is about, but I can tell you that Billy is here. He’s in the ICU, on a ventilator. Please Rachael, come down here. But CLOCK IN when you get here. I’ll take care of getting that straightened out, but you have to be on the clock to be able to see him.” Peter explained.
“Jesus! Is he alright?” Rachael said in tears.
“He’s stable. Please just come down.” Peter said having trouble keeping his composure.
“OK, I need to get a sitter and I’ll be right there.” she said with a thick voice.
Rachael immediately called the neighbor. “Sandy, I need a big favor.” she said through her tears.
“What’s wrong Rach?” Sandy asked.
“I just need to get to the hospital, my nephew is in critical care. I need to know if you can watch Bobby for a while.” Rachael explained.
“Sure. I’ll be right over.” and Sandy hung up the phone.
Rachael got herself under control and went back to the livingroom where Bobby was playing in his play yard. She put him in there any time he would be out of her sight for more than a minute. “Bobby? I need to go to the hospital Baby. Miss Sandy is coming over to watch you OK?” she asked.
Bobby stood up and put his arms out for a hug. Rachael picked him up and held him close as she kissed him several times. The doorbell rang and she carried Bobby as she answered it. “Miss Sandy!” Bobby said with a big smile.
“Hi Baby!” Sandy said as she pulled Bobby from his mommy’s arms. Then as she hugged him she told Rachael “Go. I’ll take care of him.”.
Rachael thanked her, grabbed her coat and purse and ran out to the van. Ten minutes later, she was standing at the time clock, swiping her badge. She immediately ran for the stairs. Bursting through the door to the fifth floor stairwell, she made her way to the PICU. Peter was standing at the nurses station when she came through the doors. “Where is he?” she asked frantically.
“He’s in isolation room 2.” Peter answered. “Come on.” he said taking her arm.
When Rachael saw him she couldn’t help sobbing. “Oh God. What happened?” she asked.
Peter stood there and explained everything to her.
Frank got off the phone and went directly to Rick. “I’ve got to go to the courthouse right now. I’ll call you in a little bit.” he explained. Then reaching to place a hand on Rick’s shoulder, he said “Rick, it’ll be alright.”.
Rick said “I hope so, God I don’t even know where they are.” as tears stung his eyes.
“Rick, I mean it. It’ll be alright.” Frank responded with a smile.
“What do you know?” Rick asked.
“I don’t have time right now to go into it. Get Sharon ready to leave here. I’ll call you when I’m ready, and I want you to bring her to the courthouse.” Frank told him and made for the door.
Frank got in his car and headed up the road. Several minutes later he pulled into a parking space at the courthouse. Getting out of the car, he locked it and ran toward the building. As he approached, he saw the gentleman he was supposed to meet, shook his hand and they both headed for Judge Kramer’s offices.
Peter’s phone rang. He talked for a bit, and then hung up and made his way to Billy’s room. Seeing April through the glass, he activated the intercom and told her “I’ve got to leave for a while. I will have my cell if you need anything. Don’t let anyone into this room for any reason until I get back.” he explained.
“Alright Peter, but you need to explain all of this when you get back.” April told him.
“I will, I promise.” he said and took off running for the garage.
Becky felt someone shake her shoulder. She opened her eyes and looked at Mrs. Kelsey.
“Honey, we need to get ready to go. There’s a hearing in an hour, and you need to be there.” Mrs. Kelsey explained.
The reality that she wasn’t going home struck Becky like a physical blow and her eyes teared. “OK.” she said quietly as she listlessly sat up on the couch.
Mrs. Kelsey pulled her into an embrace, but Becky didn’t respond. She just sat there, ignoring the attempt to comfort her. Mrs. Kelsey had seen this many times before with children that had been taken from or abandoned by their parents. Her heart went out to this little girl.
Five minutes later, Becky was buckled into Mrs. Kelsey’s Buick station wagon, and they were headed down town.
Twenty minutes later, Kathleen Pierce was sitting at her desk in her home office. The doorbell rang and she got up to answer it. When she opened the door, a police officer asked “Are you Kathleen Pierce?”.
“Yes, is there something I can do for you?” Kathleen answered in a bored tone.
“Yes, Mrs. Pierce. You can come down to the courthouse right now. I have a subpoena for you.” as he handed her the paper.
"Look, I don’t have time for this. I have a dinner party in three hours and several things left to complete. I…"she started to explain.
The police officer reached out and took her by the arm and interrupted her with “Mrs. Pierce, you are coming to the courthouse. Now I will cuff you if you make me, but I would prefer if you just cooperate.”.
“Officer, do you have any idea who I am?” she asked him in a haughty tone.
“Yes, I do. You are the person named on that subpoena, now come along.” he said in a determined tone.
Two minutes later, they were headed to the courthouse.
At the same time, Tanya Gleason and Elena Thompson were also bing escorted to the courthouse. Richard Hillstrom, the director of Social Services followed behind in another police car.
Rick answered the phone. “Alright, we’ll be there in just a few minutes.” he told Frank.
As he hung up the phone, he walked back toward the bedroom. Seeing Sharon sitting quietly on the bed, her eyes red from crying, he sat down and told her “Sweety, we’re going to the courthouse now. We need to be at the hearing and I need you to be strong for me. Can you do that?” he asked as he kissed her cheek gently.
Sharon, her heart feeling like it had been ripped from her chest said “Yes, I can do that.”. She forced her emotions back under control and stood up. The two of them walked out to the car and were driving toward the courthouse a moment later.
Becky was escorted into an office. It had a big wooden desk and the walls were lined with bookshelves. Behind the desk was an old woman reading a paper. Becky sat down when Mrs. Kelsey motioned toward one of the two chairs in front of the desk.
“Hello Becky, I need to ask you some questions, if you don’t mind. My name is Judge Kramer, and my job is to see that you and your brother are taken care of.” the judge explained.
“Where is Billy?” Becky asked, tears escaping her eyes.
“Billy’s at the hospital Honey, but you need to answer some questions before we get to that. Can you tell me if your Mom or Dad ever make you wear a diaper?”.
“No.” Becky answered.
“They didn’t or you can’t tell me?” the judge clarified.
“They didn’t.” Becky answered.
“OK, did they ever treat you like a baby?”.
“How about Billy? Did they ever force him to be a baby?”.
“No, he wanted to be one.” Becky said.
“What do you mean?” the judge asked her, not having heard anything about this.
“Well, before he went into the hospital, he cried and prayed to God to let him be a baby again. After, Mommy told me that it was the thing they took out during his surgery that made him want that so bad.” Becky explained.
“I see. So your Mommy never made Billy wear a diaper or act like a baby?” the judge asked again.
“No. When that mean lady took us…” Becky said and started to cry unable to finish for a moment before adding “she took Billy’s binky, and he screamed and screamed. I tried to make it better, but it didn’t help and then he just stopped. I got scared.” and she broke down sobbing.
Mrs. Kelsey saw the shade of Judge Kramer’s face darken more and more as the seconds ticked by.
The judge got up, walked around the desk and told Becky “Becky,” as she got down on one knee and tears stung her eyes. “there has been a huge mistake made Sweety. I want to assure you right now, you’re going home before this afternoon is over.” she said with tears streaming down both cheeks.
Becky quickly lifted her head to look at the judge. She wasn’t sure she was hearing right. “I’m…I’m going home?” she asked very softly.
“Yes, you’re going home.” the judge reaffirmed.
Becky got up and wrapped her arms around the judges neck, crying her eyes out, occasionally punctuated by a quiet “Thank you.”.
Sharon and Rick made their way up the courthouse steps. Sharon was keeping it together, trying to make sure she appeared stable in front of the judge. When they made their way into the lobby, Frank met them, along with another gentleman who was introduced as Brian Wendell. Frank led them up a set of stairs and down a hallway where he stopped to knock on a large door with the name Judge Francine Kramer in bold letters mounted on it. A second later, he opened the door and led them in.
Judge Kramer stood as they entered, and walked around her desk. “Mr. And Mrs. Avery?” she asked.
“Yes. Rick” Rick said offering his hand.
The judge shook his hand and Sharon offered hers and said “Sharon, your honor.”.
“Please have a seat.” she said pointing to a couch on the side of the office. As the Avery’s sat, she offered a chair to Frank and Brian, and took a seat herself on the corner of her large desk. “I need you both to see something. I want you to understand that it’s not going to be pleasant, but you need to watch it.” she waved to Brian.
Brian rolled a television on a cart closer, so everyone could see it. He pressed a button on the device on the shelf of the cart and video started to play.
The image showed a video of a large office, with expensive furniture. Two men were sitting on chairs talking.
“Jim, what your asking is not easy, and I’m not sure it’s legal.” the one balding gentleman said.
“Look, you know Kathleen, she wants this done, and she has my nuts in a vice. I need this favor Rich. If you pull this off, I can make sure that you get handsomely rewarded.” Jim said.
“This isn’t a policy thing, there’s no law that say a mother can’t nurse her nine year old. While I think it’s repulsive, it’s not illegal. The only way that this could be construed to be child abuse, is if she was forcing the child to dress and act like a baby.” Rich replied.
“So change the complaint. What’s the big deal there? If it ever comes up, Kathleen will swear that’s what she saw.” Jim offered.
“I don’t know, this just doesn’t sound right.” Rich answered.
“Look Richard, I’m not asking you to do this, I’m telling you, get it done. If you can’t bring yourself to bend a rule or two, I might just have to give some information to the FBI I have, showing a certain Director of Social Services taking money to pull kids from a home.” Jim told him with a no nonsense expression.
“Fine, I’ll get it done. But you owe me big time for this one Jim.” Rich said heatedly.
Changing to all smiles, Jim replied “Fine,fine. I’ll remember when you need a favor old buddy.”.
They said their goodbyes, and Kathleen Pierce entered the room. “I was wondering if you would have the balls to get it done. I know I didn’t marry you for your looks.” she told her husband.
“You know, I want to ask you, what’s in it for you? You don’t give a shit about that woman nursing her nine year old, what’s the reason for this?” Jim asked her.
“You’re right. I don’t care about the boy. He’s a little pain in the ass, but no one, and I mean no one makes me look like an ass in front of half the neighborhood without paying the price for it.” Kathleen answered.
“Jesus, you’re a cold blooded bitch, you know that?” he told her with an incredulous look on his face.
“That’s right hubbie, and don’t you forget it.” she told him with a look of menace.
Brian turned off the TV. “This recording was made four days ago. The FBI has been doing surveillance on James Pierce for some time. This morning, I discovered this clip and attempted to find out who was involved. I traced your son to the hospital, and made contact with someone there.” as the door to the office opened.
Peter said “That someone would be me.” as he approached Sharon and Rick.
“Hospital, what happened?” Sharon asked, tears forming.
Peter went to her and said “He’ll be fine, he just needs meds for right now. Rachael is with him as we speak. We can talk about this in a little bit. Right now, I know a little girl that probably wants to see her parents.” as he looked to the judge.
A clerk entered the office and informed the Judge that everyone was in the courtroom.
Judge Kramer looked at Rick and asked “Can you go see your daughter while I take your wife to the courtroom to see justice done?”.
Rick looked at his wife. “Are you OK with that?” he asked.
“Yes, don’t make her wait any longer, I think at least one of us needs to be out there.” Sharon told him.
The Judge picked up a phone and called a clerk to take Rick to the conference room where Becky was waiting. “OK Frank, take them out to the courtroom, I’ll be right out.” the judge said.
Frank led Sharon out to the courtroom, with Peter and Brian right behind. They took their place at the table on the left side of the courtroom.
A moment later, the judge entered and the bailiff called for everyone to rise. Once the judge was seated. She explained “In all my years on the bench, I have never seen a worse travesty of justice. I am here today, to tell you that this will be corrected and justice will be served.”.
Frank looked around and noticed no less than twelve police officers lining the walls of the courtroom.
“Mr. Wendell, If you please.” the judge stated.
Brian went to a projector, turned it on, and then to the recorder off to the left and pressed a button. The same image Sharon had seen just a few minutes came up on the large screen. As the video played, two people started walking toward the exit.
“Pause the video please.” the judge said. “Just to save any confusion, no one, and I mean no one will leave this courtroom until this hearing is over.” she explained.
Brian restarted the video at the judges nod. By the time the video finished, there were several people shifting uncomfortably in their seats.
“Now, Mrs. Avery I need to ask you a question. Have you or your husband ever forced Billy to dress and act like a baby?” the judge asked.
“No your honor, never.” Sharon answered. She didn’t think making him wear a diaper and drink a bottle on Christmas day was what the judge was asking about.
Kathleen stood up and said “She’s lying, I saw it myself. She had him nursing at her breast for Christ sake, and burping him like an infant.”.
“SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP MRS. PIERCE!” the judge shouted.
Kathleen immediately sat down.
The judge then asked “Doctor Richardson, what was Billy’s condition when he left the hospital on the twenty eighth of December?”.
Peter stood and answered “Your Honor, physically, he was an infant. He had the coordination and control of a one month old. Emotionally he alternated between being an infant and a nine year old. Eighty percent of the time, he was an infant.”.
“Did you recommend that Mrs. Avery nurse Billy at her breast?”.
“Yes Your Honor, it served two purposes. First it gave him antibodies he couldn’t get any other way. He is on medication that is inhibiting his immune system, and the antibodies in his mother’s milk help him fight infection. Second, it gave him comfort. It was imperative that he remain calm or he could have serious problems.” Peter responded.
“Did you advise Billy’s parents to continue to give him a pacifier?” the judge asked.
“Yes Your Honor, again, it comforted the boy. My goal was to give him whatever comfort was possible. Considering how frightening it was for him to be trapped in an infant’s body, I advised them that any comfort that could be provided would be desirable, and I specifically told them to continue to give it to him.” he answered.
“Do you recommend continuing providing his pacifier and nursing at this time?” she asked him.
“Yes Your Honor, I think it would be dangerous if we didn’t.” Peter answered.
“And if Billy regresses and is no longer able to see the world as a nine year old? What then?” the judge asked him.
Peter took a second before he answered. “Your Honor, I can almost guarantee that Billy will regress. Even if you tried to talk to him as a nine year old, and interact with him that way, he would still regress. He needs the care that an infant requires. He wears a diaper because he cannot control his bladder or bowels. He must nurse from a bottle or a breast because if we tried to feed him solid foods, he would choke on them. Being forced by his physical condition to use those things he associates to be baby things will inevitably cause him to see himself that way. I believe it is our job to keep him safe. To provide any comfort we can, and to help him become as physically and emotionally functional as he can be. If that means that for a time, he seeks the comfort items that a baby would seek, then so be it. I honestly believe that he will get where he needs to be. It may take several years to get there, but I believe he will get there.” he explained.
“Thank you Dr. Richardson.” the judge said.
“It is the order of this court, that Billy and Becky Avery be returned to their natural parents, and that no further follow up is necessary. It is further ordered that should either of the children require medical or psychiatric care as a result of this fiasco, that it shall be provided by the state.” the judge stated and rapped her gavel three times.
“Now, there are several other things to consider here. Mrs. Pierce?” the judge called out.
Kathleen stood. “Yes Your Honor?”.
“You will be remanded into custody at once. You are under arrest for extortion, fraud and endangering the life of a child. You will be notified of the date of your hearing. Bailiff.” the judge dictated.
“Do you have any idea who I am?” Kathleen said haughtily.
“Yes, you are Mrs. Kathleen Pierce and you are under arrest. Please get her out of my sight gentleman.” the judge stated.
Two uniformed police officers proceeded to cuff Kathleen and lead her out of the courtroom.
“Hold on a second.” the judge said. When they stopped and turned Kathleen around, the judge told her “I have been informed that your husband had been taken into custody as well. Your son is now in the custody of Social Services. Unfortunately, we will meet again Mrs. Pierce.” and waved a hand toward the door.
The sound of sobbing was the only thing anyone heard from Kathleen Pierce.
“Mr. Hillstrom?” the judge called.
“Yes Your Honor?” Rich answered, knowing it wouldn’t be good.
“You are remanded into custody. You have endangered the life of a child as a favor to another man. That is contemptible sir, and I hope you are locked away for a good long time. Get him out of my sight please.” she said with disgust.
They led him in cuffs from the courtroom.
“Tanya Gleason?” the judge called.
Standing, she answered “Yes Your Honor?”.
“You, having been warned, attempted to enter an isolation room, thereby risking infection and even death to a child. You are hereby remanded into custody for knowingly attempting to endanger the life of a child. Get her out of my site please.” the judge said.
She was led away in tears.
“Elena Thompson?” the judge called.
“Yes Your Honor?” Elena said in a quivering voice. Her legs barely able to hold her as she stood up.
“If I had a bonified reason to put you in jail this minute, I wouldn’t hesitate. Unfortunately, I don’t. What I will say to you though, is I know Mr. Hillstrom’s replacement at the Department of Social Services, and I can almost guarantee that you will not have a job when you return to the office. I want you to understand just what your actions have precipitated here. By removing Billy from his mother, and then removing his only source of comfort once in the car, driving from his home, you endangered that child’s life. Not only that, you may have cost him years in recovery. I truly hope that keeps you up at night. Now get out of my courtroom, now.” the judge told her. A moment later she rapped her gavel three times and stated “This hearing is now over.” and stood.
Sharon stood up and looked to Frank, she couldn’t say anything, she just hugged him. A moment later, she looked for Peter and grabbed him and pulled him close, saying “Thank you.” though her tears.
“My pleasure.” Peter answered as he held her tight. After he pulled back from Sharon, he said “The real hero here is Brian. Without that tape, we would have had a lot harder time proving what happened.”.
Sharon turned to Brian and said “Thank you so much, I don’t know what to say.”.
Brian looked at her and said “I have children Sharon. I understand. I couldn’t just let this go, I had to do something.”.
“Thank God for that.” she said as she patted his arm.