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Posted in: Anti-Semitism, Motherhood & Custody

Published on Nov 16, 2011 by Phyllis Chesler

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Jewish-American Mother Tortured in Solitary Confinement in America

Because She Loves her Daughter

Breaking News Update: At today's afternoon hearing in Rockland County Supreme Court, Judge Kelly said he has been made aware that the Governor of New York has asked for 30 days to review the case, so it is not yet in the judge's jurisdiction to make a decision. And, he refused to grant bail. Valerie Carlton continues to languish in jail and will be there for at least another month. It is time to organize a mass movement to educate and influence the Governors of both New York State and Maryland.

This is quite possibly the worst custody case in 20th and 21st century America. What Valerie Carlton's ex-husband, Russell Carlton, and the judicial and penal authorities in Harford County, Maryland, did from 2009-2010—and what they are still trying to do to this poor mother, in Harford County, Maryland is as bad, and possibly worse, than what was done to Elizabeth Parsons Ware Packard in the 19th century in Illinois.

Affidavits from a leading forensic psychiatrist, (Dr. Mark J. Mills), a former prisoner (whom I will not name), a rabbi, a former attorney, (Roger W. Malik), and three advocate-witnesses, (Dr. Leora Rosen, Michelle Etlin, and the maternal grandmother, Lenna Gordon), have been submitted on Valerie's behalf in the hope that Judge Kelly, of Rockland County, will not extradite her back to Maryland or back to Harford County where she faces "sure torture and probable death" at the hands of the authorities. These affidavits will be submitted in evidence at a hearing set for 2pm at the Rockland County Courthouse in New City. The presiding judge is William A. Kelly.

Like Carlton, Elizabeth Packard (above) was also married to a Christian Minister (Valerie's ex-husband is a Christian missionary). Elizabeth Packard dared to disagree with her husband about the existence of original sin; she believed that people are born innocent, not guilty. For this, her husband, Theophilus, accused her of "insanity" and, in 1860, had her forcibly removed to an insane asylum where she languished for 3 ½ years. She was kept in isolation for periods of time, sexually harassed, and once, almost strangled by the Director of the Asylum, one Dr. Andrew McFarland. Freed by the Trustees, she returned home; it was the only way she would be allowed to see her six children. However, Elizabeth's husband tormented and isolated her and again threatened to have her psychiatrically incarcerated. This time, in 1864, she demanded and got a jury of twelve men who pronounced her "sane". When she again returned to her husband's custody, she found that he had mortgaged her dowry-bought house and fled to Massachusetts with their children.

Elizabeth supported herself by selling copies of her autobiography entitled: Modern Persecution. Insane Asylums Unveiled (volume 1) and Married Women's Liabilities (volume 2). She ultimately battled for custody of her still underage children with whom she was finally reunited in 1869, after a nine year separation.

But we are now living in the 21stcentury. The laws concerning custody and the rights of married, divorced, and single women have changed. Improved. Thus, the incredible mistreatment of Valerie Carlton is less justified, less understandable, certainly less legal, than the atrocious treatment meted out to Elizabeth Packard.

Only because I am the author of both Women and Madness and Mothers on Trial. The Battle for Children and Custody, am I capable of believing that such extraordinary, illegal, and incredibly sadistic things were really done to this mother.

According to her advocate, Dr. Leora Rosen, Valerie's mother is a Jew. Her father is a Christian who does not like Jews and who was abusive to Valerie who suffered from a learning disorder, one which he absolutely refused to recognize or treat. Only after her parents were divorced, did a teenaged Valerie finally receive a diagnosis of "Auditory Processing Disorder." According to Dr. Leora Rosen, Valerie's auditory processing disorder means that she has:

"Difficulty processing the meaning of sounds when there is background noise --even a little noise. She is actually exquisitely sensitive to sound and can actually hear sounds that no one else can hear when there is complete silence around. However, when people turn away from her while talking, especially when there are other noises in the environment, she may have difficulty understanding what they are saying. People have to face her so that she can read their lips. Most people do not believe that there is anything wrong with her because she is not deaf. They don't understand her disability and think she is making things up to be difficult."

Valerie's father treated her like a failure.

Nevertheless, disabled people—even very smart and good-natured and only slightly disabled people are easy to view as "mentally ill" or even retarded. Or as difficult. Such a woman may also be viewed as exceptionally vulnerable prey. Although Valerie nearly completed all the work for a degree in social work and planned to study horticulture, she was, essentially, waiting to marry and have a family. This is no crime; it does involve some risk. A woman like Valerie is utterly dependent upon the goodwill of her protectors: Her husband, a faith-based community, be it a church or a synagogue. If they fail her, she has little recourse. Thus, Valerie followed in her mother's footsteps and married a Christian. She attended church with him. But, Russell was not merely a "Christian." He was a Christian Evangelical missionary who lived in a small predominantly white (80%) and Christian county in Maryland: Harford County.

Wait and see what these presumed "Christian" church-goers did. Jesus must be weeping.

According to Valerie's advocate, Dr. Leora Rosen, "Valerie never objected to Russell continuing to take their daughter to church. But when Valerie began her return to Judaism and began to light Sabbath candles with her daughter present," both Russell, his church, the state attorney, and the judge and sheriff whom they controlled viewed and treated her religious practice as a high crime.

In court papers, one of her previous attorneys, Roger W. Malik, Esq. said that "During my representation of Ms. Carlton, I became aware that, at the onset of the criminal case against her, an application for a search warrant of her domiciliary premises had been made, and that the search warrant was judicially signed and issued. The application for the search warrant states in substantive part Ms. Carlton's status as an "Orthodox Jew who practices with her religion with her daughter."

Did they accuse her outright of being a Jew? Did they list it as a crime? Not exactly. They (her ex-husband and his church-related law enforcement associates) came at Valerie in another way. According to one of her New York attorneys, Michael Ettinger, and her advocate, Dr. Leora Rosen, Russell had allowed their five year old daughter to be sexually abused by his nephew; Winnifer began acting out sexually in school. And that's when Russell falsely charged Valerie with sexually abusing her own daughter and a neighbor's daughter as well—a neighbor who has a history of making such false charges.

The way the Harford County prosecutor and Judge William Carr decided to treat Valerie was not only to falsely charge her with 28 counts of child sexual abuse but to put her in solitary confinement for thirteen months (2009-2010). And in a detention center with male (as well as female) inmates and guards, all of whom had been informed that Valerie was a lesbian pedophile. You see, since prisoners hate pedophiles, they had to keep her in lockdown for 23 hours every day "for her own protection."

Valerie needed protection from her guards. During this time, they often kept Valerie in restraints, often tightly shackled, both hands and feet. She was threatened. Her food was contaminated. She was cursed as a "kike" and a pedophile. She was seriously "roughed up" by the guards when they transported her and at other times. In one instance, "she was 'helped' into a transport van while chained, by having hands touch her "ass and between her legs." They also rammed her head, hard, into walls. Her jailors denied her medical treatment after these beatings.

According to a former inmate, (this is contained in an affidavit), he "personally witnessed" Valerie's Kosher food opened and handled by numerous male prisoners; it was "picked up by an inmate, he dropped his pants in the front and rubbed the pita bread all over his exposed genitals. It was then partially rewrapped and taken…for Valerie to consume." She was also constantly taunted. The inmate was also told of "inmates masturbating into Valerie's food" and "other bodily fluids were introduced into her…meals including saliva, urine, mucus, boogers, and fecal matter." "She was singled out for this treatment especially by the 'Black Muslims' working in the kitchen. They wanted to contaminate her food because she is Jewish." In addition, "There were numerous stories (circulated by the inmates) of Valerie and what she looked like. Nude, while sleeping, in the shower, on the toilet, in Med-Iso."

According to this brave former inmate, male inmates were allowed to view Valerie's private files and photos on a computer. Many masturbated to her image.

She was in Hell.

Why did the authorities allow these injustices to occur? Because they wanted to literally drive her crazy so that she would never be allowed custody of her daughter or even visitation. The sheriff and various law enforcement officials, kept offering her a way out: If she pled to "Not Criminally Responsible," she would be allowed out. But she would forever after be seen as an "insane" mother whose visitation, if any, would have to be supervised and very limited.

Valerie absolutely refused to sacrifice her rights as a mother or her right to protect her daughter. She was literally tortured because she loved her daughter.

Many prisoners subjected to solitary confinement become psychotic. Valerie did not. A major psychiatrist has literally testified to that. (His is one of the affidavits being submitted into evidence today, in Rockland County). But, there is no way to endure this kind of terror, abuse, and isolation without becoming afflicted with a serious case of post-traumatic stress disorder. It is the normal human reaction to torture. Even so, this does not mean that Valerie is "insane" or incapable of being a good mother.

Why would a competent judge award sole custody to a convicted batterer who had tried to strangle his wife Valerie? Why would a judge remove Valerie's order or protection? Easy as pie. All Russell had to do was to feed false information to the hand-picked court mental health professional and all the court had to do was to refuse to hear from any other (and far more expert) mental health professional. Everyone knows that a violent, Jew-hating misogynist is not as dangerous as a presumably angry mother.

Thus, Valerie was accused of being a violent, bi-polar, drug addict. As they say, if I had a dime for each erroneous court-ordered forensic report I would be a billionaire.

Let's just focus on this: When the Harford County authorities decided that they had to drop all 28 (false) charges of child sexual abuse against her, they had a guard beat her up—and then falsely claim that she had attacked him. He lodged a suit against her (a felony misdemeanor) which became the reason a SWAT team broke into her mother's apartment and U.S. Marshals travelled to Monsey, the religious Jewish community where Valerie now lives, to have her arrested and extradited back to Maryland. This is precisely why she has been sitting in jail in New York State.

And if you think this is torturous, allow me to share one further detail.

Poor Valerie has had bad luck with men. And, by the way, let's not blame her alone. Let's also ask: Why are there so many bad men?

Two years after her divorce, Valerie met a man whom she hoped to marry. This man was an Israeli religious Jewish businessman, one Jacob Gendelman, a man in his late 50s, who claimed he was a member of the Mossad and that he had no children. Wisely or unwisely, they had an affair and Valerie became pregnant. Her baby, a boy, was born on April 10, 2009. He was removed from his mother four days later on April 14, 2009. (Gendelman also wanted sole custody and collaborated with Russell Carlton by falsely accusing Valerie of having attempted to enlist Gendelman in helping her kidnap Winnifer and, in addition, of threatening to harm her nearly born child.)

So many details tempts one to glaze over or to begin disbelieving one or more of these details. That would be a mistake. These details are true, they really happened, witch-hunts were also complicated and consisted of thousands of details, as did the institutions of slavery and the Holocaust. Who could believe what was going on while it was actually happening? This is the way in which evil-doers-have their way with the vulnerable and the innocent for quite a long while.

Thus, Harford County State Attorney Joe Casilly rushed right in and put the boy in foster care. The state did not allow the infant to remain with his nursing mother. (There are prison programs all over the country where this is possible). Instead, on May 29, 2009, they incarcerated Valerie and they kept her there until June 30, 2010, under the conditions described above.

Guess what? The boy died in state custody two months later.

Here's what the Harford County Grand Inquisitors did next. They prohibited the Detention Center chaplain from breaking the news to Valerie. This was a complete break from their usual procedures. Instead, they had people from the state attorney's office and hand-picked guards put Valerie in a "restraint chair" and then taunt her with the fact of her infant son's untimely death. Why? Because they wanted to send her into wild ravings so that they could claim she was insane. (This information is also contained in one of the affidavits being submitted in Rockland County).

Who's really insane here?

According to one of her attorneys, Michael Ettinger, and her team of advocates, Harford County Detention Center is also known for the "accidental" taser deaths of several inmates. Valerie is terrified of being returned there. I would be too.

How is this possible in the 21stcentury? How can this happen in America? Injustice abounds whenever a person does not have enough money to hire the very best lawyer in town. Injustice against mothers is pandemic in custody cases. But mothers are not routinely sent to jail or put into solitary confinement for thirteen months. Mothers are not routinely tortured because they wish to practice a religion other than that of their ex-husband's.

Harford County is 80% white, and is home to a number of interconnected Christian Evangelical Mega-Churches such as the Grace Fellowship, Oak Grove Baptist, and Mountain Christian Church. I have been told that the majority population does not take kindly to "minorities" such as Blacks, Asians, and in Valerie's case, Jews. The Judges and sheriffs and state lawyers attend one of these churches. And these are wealthy churches. Ironically, according to Valerie's advocates, Russell Carlton, the Christian Evangelical Missionary, is now presumably living with his mother in another county and attending Presbyterian Churches. He is quite the ingrate, quite religiously fickle.

There is a petition online calling upon Governor Cuomo not to extradite Valerie Carlton. Please sign it.

Valerie Gordon Carlton has nothing about which to be ashamed. Her ex-husband, Russell Carlton, the state attorney, the judge, the sheriff, the guards, the other inmates, Mr. Jacob Gendelman and the Governor of the state of Maryland, should all be tried for hate crimes, (both anti-Semitism and sexism), unlawful imprisonment, torture, and the violation of Valerie's every human and civil right.

Let Valerie Go. Let Valerie Go. Let my people Go.

Return Winnifer to her mother. Let Valerie live with her loving mother, the maternal grandmother, who has only recently been allowed to see her granddaughter again. Let them all live together in peace.

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