August Update on Bruce Jackson of the Four Starved Brothers: Judge Refuses to Unseal 2006 Records Regarding Care
I usually watch to see how my stories are trending during the day, and it’s been trending towards the four starved brothers for sometime. So I decided to Google it. Here is what I found, dated August 24.
Confidential records concerning the care of Bruce Jackson, found nearly starved to death in his adoptive Collingswood home in 2003, will remain under seal, a judge decided Monday.
“I do not see a reason to invade Mr. Jackson’s privacy,” Superior Court Judge Mary Eva Colalillo said in denying a request by The Inquirer to unseal Jackson’s file, which could include information on his education, finances, and job training.
Colalillo said she would review medical records to determine whether an additional advocate is needed for Jackson.
Jackson, 25, has been declared incompetent and is living in Gloucester County in a group home for the developmentally disabled.
The Inquirer petitioned the court to unseal Jackson’s files this month after publishing several stories in which advocates for the disabled raised concerns about the lack of transparency in Jackson’s case.
At Monday’s hearing before Colalillo, in Camden, Haddonfield lawyer John Connell argued on behalf of The Inquirer that court records normally are public and that the case demanded transparency, given the state’s role in the case.
Tambussi said the file contains medical information. Releasing the material would violate Jackson’s privacy, he said, and it would not be in Jackson’s best interest and would serve no benefit to the public.
Colalillo’s denial of The Inquirer‘s request was “a blow to the transparency of mental-health patient treatment,” Connell said after the hearing. He pointed out that the same entity held liable for the mistreatment of Jackson was overseeing his care.
“That alone cries out for transparency,” he said.
If anything, unsealing these documents might have clarified once and for all to the public whether the conservatorship is justified, and that everything has been done and will be done for Bruce Jackson’s benefit, and not just for these so-called “pro bono” attorneys.
Bruce Jackson even has a will created by the attorneys. I wonder who gets the money, but even that remains sealed.
I think someone has something to hide about the young man. I think that it has nothing at all to do with protecting Jackson’s privacy, but protecting those who are responsible for him. Jackson is hardly cognizant that he has a legal right to privacy. But he does know what is right and what is wrong, and when he wants to close or open a door.
It make me think something probably happened while he was living at the group home. It is not Jackson’s embarrassment, but the state’s if something occurred there that was detrimental to the young man. He cannot help being who he is. I think that anyone who feels for his plight and takes an interest in the progress of his brothers will not suddenly withdraw that concern or speak disparagingly about him.
I bring this up because there has been a dramatic change in Bruce’s circumstances. He has gained weight and stature, and with that, acquired some form of maturity. His own sexuality may have kicked in. (What? You think that they can…? Yes, some of them can.) This may not be anything to laugh at. But emotionally, he may not have come to terms with his abuse or his separation from his brothers, or his residing in the group home. (He may even have been abused by the other residents or the staff into conformity.) There is a lot that we do not know about his daily life or his progress in the facility because the state of New Jersey is so adamant about keeping this all hush hush.
Why do I continually feel that something smells about this entire thing?
The judge says that she will review the documents to see whether another advocate is necessary. Would this be a doctor or a psychologist?
I’m thinking more and more that by dropping the anvil on the state, Jackson may have freed his brothers, but not himself. In doing so, he exposed the neglect of not only his adoptive parents, but of the state child welfare system that let the boys fall through the cracks. I mean, how dare he? How dare he? He and his brothers should have died, it appears, than provide us with walking witnesses to such abuse.
I doubt whether this ruling is going to stop The Philadelphia Inquirer or any others concerned about Bruce Jackson’s fate. This is not over yet.