AT News
Archived Issue
Originally emailed 31 January 2003

A Famous Victory in Utah!

The anti-holding, anti-coercive restraint bill in Utah — HB5 — passed overwhelmingly in the Utah House of Representatives, 68-2. It now goes on to the Senate for an especially tough fight, but with the “Big Mo” behind it.

The lopsided vote masks the tremendous effort that was needed to pass the bill over the determined opposition of the ATers in Utah and around the country. (One of them has even said, “as Utah goes, so goes the nation!” — we hope they’re right in that.)

Kudos go out to Jan Ferré, Alan Misbach, and Randy Pennington — leaders of the forces “on the ground” in Utah. They got 14 Utah consumer-advocacy groups, mental-health professional organizations, and state agencies to line up behind the bill. They also bent the ear of nearly every Representative. Kudos also to all of you on this list who emailed your comments in support; they were a big factor as well. And not to forget Rep. Mike Thompson, who has endured incredible personal abuse with dignity and determination.

The killer substitute for the bill went down to defeat by almost as lopsided a margin, 8-55. One Representative, who had written some of you back saying he would vote for the substitute, ended up voting against it. When asked what changed his mind, he replied, “The evidence became overwhelming.”

We’ll be asking you soon to do more of the same with the Utah Senate Rules Committee. Keep it up! It’s making a difference!

Frontline Documentary Airs

Sadly, and by the most incredible of coincidences, we have seen just tonight more evidence of the urgent need for HB5, and for legislation like it in other states. A “Frontline” documentary just aired on PBS about another attachment-therapy related death. (The publicly known body count is now, lamentably, nine.) This time it was a five-year-old killed in Maine by a foster-parent (a former DHS case worker, no less) who routinely treated “attachment disorder” rages by wrapping the girl in blankets.

Exactly two years ago today, the child was screaming uncontrollably, so the foster duct-taped her into a high-chair, then put duct-tape over her mouth to shut her up and left the room. Returning an hour later, the child was dead from asphyxiation. The foster was convicted last summer and received 20 years for manslaughter.

The program, the first of two parts, is billed as an exposé of the “broken caseworker system” which allowed this to happen, and only in passing mentions AT and restraint which were unquestionably the proximate causes of the little girl’s death. The circumstances were eerily similar to those of Candace Newmaker in North Carolina. This victim’s name was Logan Marr.
Such a waste. Such cruelty. Complete eradication of AT cannot come too soon.

Caution: links may have aged since this AT News was first emailed.