Originally published September 11 2015
Colorado county government abducts non-verbal 36-year-old college graduate
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Advocates for disabled persons are outraged over a Colorado case centered around a nonverbal woman with disabilities whom they charge is being held hostage by officials in Jefferson County, The Denver Post reports.
"It is truly outrageous," Julie Reiskin, director of the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, told the paper. "I call this torture."
County authorities have taken temporary guardianship over Sharisa Kochmeister, a 36-year-old college graduate, removing her from her home and her father, who is the only person who is able to help her communicate.
Officials placed Sharisa in a nursing home, then forbade her family, friends and even her doctor from visiting her, people close to the situation told the Post.
"What is she doing in a nursing home in Morrison away from her friends?" asked Marcia Tewell, executive director of the Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council. "Her real community is nowhere near her and they are blocking access."
"This makes me so mad"The entire ordeal began in March when Sharisa's father was accused of abuse after being seen in a Denver hospital using his finger to clear his daughter's throat after she had thrown up. During the throat sweep, Sharisa kicked him and he reflexively pushed her, all of which was caught on video.
Someone then alerted Denver police, and in turn, officials at Jefferson County Human Services were summoned because of where the family lives – Lakewood.
Critics of the state kidnapping have noted that Denver's district attorney did not see enough evidence to charge Sharisa's father. Nevertheless, Jefferson County officials saw fit to take custody of her anyway, alleging that it was a case of Munchhausen by proxy syndrome – a form of abuse meted out by a caregiver who exaggerates or fakes illnesses or symptoms.
The Post continued:
County officials refused to talk about this case, citing privacy and confidentiality laws.
Sharisa has cerebral palsy, epilepsy and autism and communicates by typing on a computer with one finger. She only types with certain people next to her — her father and her sister, who lives in New York.
She has a dual degree with honors from the University of Denver, became president of the Autism National Committee and joined the executive committee for the Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council.
She has written articles and appeared on panels to discuss her disability and how she navigates the world.
Further, she has been tested with a genius-level IQ, says her father, yet in the nursing home, she has refused to communicate; now, staffers have pegged her IQ at 47, categorizing her as mentally disabled.
"I hope people become outraged""You take someone who is nonverbal, who is dependent on one person for communicating, and you remove that... this makes me so mad," said Reiskin. "This is part of not understanding a population. You put them in an institution against their will with a bunch of people who have dementia. This is torture."
She added that the county has so far balked at paying an nonverbal expert to come in and try communicating with Sharisa, in an attempt to find out what she is thinking and feeling.
"I hope people become outraged by this," Reiskin said.
In recent days, Sharisa's father was finally permitted to see his daughter, and she finally felt comfortable enough to begin typing again. County workers at the nursing home facility witnessed that they had a loving relationship and some asked why she had not been talking to them, the Post noted.
Sharisa said it was because she doesn't like or trust them, according to Reiskin – something that is easy to understand given her treatment by the county.
Such medical-related kidnapping is becoming more and more frequent all around the country, as Natural News has reported. That has included using the excuse of Munchhausen by proxy syndrome as the basis for taking custody (see this story).
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