Update on Andrew Steele: In good spirits while jailed.

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From: John Murtari (murtarij@yahoo.com)
Date: Tue Dec 22 2009 - 21:53:10 EST

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Good People & People of Faith,

This message has a little more follow up information on Mr. Andrew
Steele.  The parent who was arrested two weeks ago for writing on some
Courthouse walls in the Boston area.

From: Mandy Varona <mandyvarona@yahoo.com>

> I heard from Andrew today [Dec 18th]!  And he sounds really good.
> He almost sounds like a new person, his spirits are that good. He
> was feeling pretty low and remorseful the first few days (and wasn't
> eating as I suspected), but he's gained a lot of clarity from this
> whole ordeal. 

> Contrary to his initial plan, he is not interested in staying in
> custody. He feels somewhat satisfied with the statement he made (to
> his boys especially) and the outrage he expressed, and he's looking
> forward to getting out and working on this issue from the outside. 
> That may come in the form of a book and advocacy as well.  He's a
> good spokesman, imo.

> He finally realized and admitted to himself that his ex-wife is
> never going to be his friend and the anger he was directed toward
> himself for not doing enough to achieve a better outcome with his
> divorce, like having partial custody, visitation, etc with his boys
> is anger rightfully directed at the court and his ex.  And that's
> like a weight that's been lifted off his shoulder, and in my
> opinion, a more realistic view of the situation.

> So he is definitely interested in legal aid.  I'm going to look up
> the name of a public defender he met at his arraignment and lost
> track of, an atty name Benake or something similar, so if nothing
> else, maybe a PD can assist.

> He's going to write back to every letter he's gotten and he wants me
> to pass on to everyone who has written ...
> through this ordeal, helped bring him back to reality, helped him
> gain the clarity he's gained, and lifted his spirits so he doesn't
> feel so alone.  That means a lot to him and to me.  Next court date
> is Jan. 6 and we'll see what that brings. ~mandy

[Repeated from earlier message] For more background check:

http://www.AKidsRight.Org/action_boston -- it includes a picture of
Andrew from his arraignment and also links to two local news stories.

It looks like Andrew will be in jail over Christmas -- not the best
place for holiday cheer and being separated from your family!  If you
have a few moments, just sending a simple Christmas card would be
great. (I spent Christmas of 2000 in jail and getting cards from other
parents was a very nice present!)

His Address:

 Andrew Steele, #53441
 Plymouth House of Corrections
 Housing Unit BS1
 26 Long Pond Rd.
 Plymouth, MA 02360 

Also, if you have some extra time you are welcome to write the
District Attorney for that area:

 Mr. Timothy Cruz
 Plymouth County Dist Atty             
 215 Main Street              
 Plymouth, MA  02301 

Mandy wrote the following to explain a bit more about what
happened to Andrew as he went through the system:

  "If anybody is interested in specifics on Judge Sabaitis, here are a
  couple.  Early in the Steele divorce proceedings the Wife requested
  supervised visits for the boys because she said she was fearful.  In
  response, Andrew and his attorney requested an independent guardian
  ad litem, at his expense, to review the matter.  Judge Sabaitis
  denied that request without comment.  Andrew then asked for a
  psychological evaluation for himself which he would pay for.  Again,
  Her Honor denied that request without comment.

  Before the final judgment, Judge Sabaitis ordered Andrew to pay more
  than $700 a week in support, basing that amount on his earnings
  several years prior, an amount he hadn't earned in years and an
  amount he wasn't able to pay.  In the final judgment, the amount
  ordered is $150 a week, which is now artificially low and is
  probably the judge's way of trying to correct her previous earnings
  error, but a more fair solution would be to erase the arrears, which
  were without foundation in the first place and which have grown to
  be substantial.

  In the final divorce judgment, Judge Sabaitis allowed two supervised
  visits per month with the boys, every other Saturday from 10:00 am
  to 5:00 pm, with approval of the supervisors resting solely with
  Wife.  Earlier this year Wife advised Andrew that Andrew's mother,
  the boys' grandmother, was no longer a suitable supervisor.

  The requirement for a supervisor is even more egregious in light of
  the testimony at trial wherein Wife responded "No" to the following
  questions: ´Have I ever struck you?, ´Have I ever threatened you?,
  and ´Have I ever struck the children?

  So based on nothing at all, the judge required supervised visits,
  which means the Wife decides who oversees Andrew's visits with his
  own children.  He has no right to privacy with his children, and
  these visits would be uncomfortable and sad for all participating.

  The Wife was happy enough when Andrew was earning good money, but as
  soon as that was no longer the case, he was made to pay, and Judge
  Sabaitis is complicit in that injustice.  The children are made to
  pay in ways only they can feel and probably cannot articulate.

  This is why Andrew has engaged in his peaceful act of civil
  disobedience."  -- Mandy Varona

                                        John Murtari
Coordinator                              AKidsRight.Org
jmurtari@AKidsRight.Org           A Kid's Right to BOTH parents"
(315) 944-0999(x-211)               http://www.AKidsRight.Org/


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