Friday, February 20, 2009

A roundup

From KETV (February 19) - The trial has begun in Omaho, Nebraska, for Cherie Harbor who has been accused of causing the death of her disabled daughter, Tawnisha Harbour. As conveyed in an earlier FRIDA post, Ms Harbour is charged with locking 23-year-old Tawnisha in a room when their house caught fire in June 2007. Tawnisha, who used a wheelchair, died days later from burns she suffered in the fire. According to police, the bedroom door was shut and tied with a sheet and there was no inside door knob.

From The Guardian (UK) (February 19) - A British woman with multiple sclerosis lost her court of appeal case to have the law on assisted suicide clarified. Debbie Purdy, 45, wanted to know if her husband, Omar Puente, would be prosecuted if he helped her travel to die in a country where it is legal. Under British law, aiding and abetting suicide is a criminal offence punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

From The New York Times (February 18) - Peter Ash, a Canadian man with albinism is working to stop the killing of albinos in Tanzania for their body parts - more than 40 albinos have been killed since 2007 by gangs of men who hack off their legs, heads or genitals and run away with them.

From the Des Moines Register (February 16) - Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) is planning congressional hearings over the alleged exploitation of 21 workers with intellectual disabilities for decades at a meat processing plant in Iowa. The scandal began last week when it was reported that Henry’s Turkey Service, a Texas company, was paying the men as little as 44 cents an hour to work at the plant, and was housing them in a 106-year-old bunkhouse with windows that were boarded up to keep out the cold. (h/t to Patricia E Bauer)

From KPTV (February 14) - A former special education teacher's aide in Vancouver resigned recently amid an investigation into whether she sent a string of sexually suggestive MySpace messages to a 13 year-old male student with Asperger's syndrome.

From MSNBC (February 12) - The siblings of Amelia Ramirez were convicted of forcing her to live in a backyard shed without electricity and stealing her government checks for years. As reported earlier by FRIDA, 58-year-old Ms Ramirez, who is developmentally disabled, was found freezing and nearly naked in their Redwood City, CA backyard in November. Her siblings, Lozano and Cano Ramirez allegedly told her there was no room for her in the house — but let their seven pit-bull terriers share the residence. Sentencing for the siblings is set for April 8.

Lancaster OnLine (February 11) - A nurse in charge of a 11-year-old boy with cerebral palsy and elipesy appeared in court yesterday in connection with his death from a lethal dose of morphine.