International Disability Rights News Service
Your quick, once-a-day look at disability rights, self-determination
and the movement toward full community inclusion around the world.

Friday, July 9, 2004
Year V, Edition 968

Today's front section features 8 news and information items, each preceded by a number (#) symbol.
Click on the "Below the Fold" link at the bottom of this section for 33 more news items.

"I'm from Pittsburgh, but tonight, I'm a Cleveland fan. Go Tribe!"

--Sara Pyszka, 18, who Wednesday night became the first person to perform the national anthem on an augmentative communication device to open a major league baseball game. Pyszka, who has cerebral palsy, used a DynaVox system she programmed with a head-switch to perform the Star Spangled Banner before the Cleveland Indians game (Second story)

"Patients were terrified."
--Elisabeth Gamlen, a former staff member at Porirua Mental Hospital in New Zealand, corroborating statements by dozens of former residents claiming they were routinely abused, humiliated, and punished there during the 1960s (Third story)



Preacher Guilty In Boy's Exorcism Death

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 9 2004

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN--After deliberating just four hours, a jury convicted Ray Anthony Hemphill with felony physical abuse of a child causing great bodily harm in the suffocation death of a 8-year-old Terrance Cottrell Jr.

The boy's father told reporters the ruling was "minor justice", adding that he thought prosecutors should have charged Hemphill with manslaughter or murder.

Hemphill was escorted out of the courtroom in handcuffs after the verdict was read Friday afternoon. He will be held in jail until his scheduled August 18 sentencing unless his family and church can post a $10,000 bail. At that time he faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and five more years on extended supervision and up to $25,000 in fines.

Ray Hemphill, 47, was ordained as a pastor of the Faith Temple Church of the Apostolic Faith by his brother, "Bishop" David Hemphill, who founded the church in 1977.

Hemphill told police on the night of August 22, 2003 that he had been holding a series of special prayer services, described by some as exorcisms, over the previous three weeks to remove "evil spirits" of autism from Cottrell. Hemphill, who weighed 157 pounds, described how he would sit or lay on "Junior's" chest for up to two hours at a time, whispering into the boy's ear for the "demons" to leave his body.

Three women -- including the child's mother, Patricia Cooper -- described to police how they sat on Cottrell's arms and legs while Hemphill sat on his chest. One woman said she pushed down on the boy's diaphragm several times during the service.

At some point during the service, the boy stopped breathing.

During the trial that began Tuesday, Hemphill's defense attorney Thomas Harris brought in an expert to testify that high levels of three types of medication, including an anti-psychotic drug, caused the boy's death.

Prosecutor Mark S. Williams presented a different toxicologist to state that the medication levels, while high, were not within the toxic range and did not contribute to his death.

The medical examiner who performed Cottrell's autopsy told jurors he found signs of hemorrhaging in the boy's eye, a condition seen in cases of strangulation, or increased pressure to the vascular blood supply.

During closing arguments, Williams told the jury that Hemphill knew he was hurting Cottrell because the boy was struggling to get away. Williams said that children with autism do not like to be held or touched. Williams said Hemphill simply didn't care.

None of the three women testified during the trial, citing their Fifth Amendment right to refuse to testify to avoid incriminating themselves. Milwaukee County District Attorney E. Michael McCann had not yet decided whether to file charges against any of the women.

"Medical examiner: Autistic boy suffocated during exorcism" (Court TV)
"Exorcist's brother says God claimed autistic boy's life, not defendant" (Court TV)
"Jury finds minister guilty in autistic boy's death" (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
"Terrence Cottrell: Death By Exorcism" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)



Teen Uses DynaVox To Sing National Anthem At Cleveland Indians Game

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 9 2004

CLEVELAND, OHIO--Sara Pyszka made history Wednesday night.

The 18-year-old high school senior became the first person to use an augmentative communication device to sing the national anthem at a major league baseball game.

Pyszka, who has cerebral palsy and does not talk, used her laptop-sized DynaVox AAC to perform the Star Spangled Banner before the Cleveland Indians game at Jacobs Field.

"I'm from Pittsburgh, but tonight, I'm a Cleveland fan," she told the cheering crowed. "Go Tribe!"

The event was part of the Indians' Disability Awareness Night.

"Anthem highlights enduring spirit" (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
"Voiceless Teen Sings National Anthem For Cleveland Indians Using DynaVox Technology" (PR NewsWire)



Former Aides Tell Of Culture Of Abuse At Psych Hospital

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 9 2004

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND--Four former staff members of Porirua Mental Hospital have come forward to verify that abuse, humiliation and threats were part of the culture at the facility in the 1960s.

The four women, who were aides to the nursing staff at the time, told the New Zealand Weekend Herald that patients were routinely threatened and punished with painful procedures, such as electro-convulsive therapy, otherwise known as "shock treatment", administered without any muscle relaxants or pain medications.

"Patients were terrified," said Elisabeth Gamlen.

"People were herded naked, like animals, down corridors into huge bathrooms and roughly sluiced (washed) down."

The women's statements support complaints lodged recently by more than 200 former patients of New Zealand psychiatric institutions, alleging mistreatment by staff members and other residents. The women told the paper that they decided to speak out after learning that the credibility of the people filing those complaints might be questioned.

Most of the complaints concern incidents that allegedly occurred during the 1960s and 1970s by patients who were then between 8 and 16 years of age.

Some claim they were beaten, sexually assaulted, over-medicated, unwillingly subjected to experiments in electro-convulsive treatments, and placed in isolation for long periods of time -- sometimes for months.

The recent reports have also led government officials to reopen an investigation into the 1968 death of 11-year-old Clement Matthews. A coroner and pathologist officially reported that the boy died of pneumonia. A former roommate recently accused a nurse of murdering Matthews.

Nearly 70 legal claims have been filed so far in the High Court, each asking for as much as $500,000 in compensation and up to $50,000 in exemplary damages. Another 40 cases are close to being filed.

Until recently officials had believed the abuses were confined to Porirua and one other former institution. As more claimants came forward in the past several weeks, nearly all of the country's psychiatric hospitals had been implicated.

Most of the facilities either are closed or no longer operate as mental institutions.

"Patients lived in fear of 'The Treatment'" (New Zealand Herald)



No Guilt Noted In Inquest Over Ferris Wheel Death

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 9 2004

WARRINGTON, ENGLAND--After hearing three days of testimony, an inquest jury returned an open verdict Friday in the case of a girl who fell from a ferris wheel two years ago.

Salma Saleem, 15, fell 30 feet from the top of a ride at Gulliver's World theme park in Warrington in July 2002. She died of head injuries at a nearby hospital two days after the fall.

Jurors were told that Salma, who had Down syndrome, wanted to ride alongside her mother. But a ride attendant told her she had to ride in a separate gondola because of her weight. Salma reportedly weighed over 12 stone, which is 168 pounds.

Salma's mother said that she tried to tell the ride's operators that the teenager had a disability and should not sit alone, but the mother spoke little English and was ignored.

Ride attendant Paul Delaney said he assumed Salma was an adult, because of her size, and did not realize she had a disability.

Salma's sister testified that the girl was anxious from the start of the ride, and tried looking back at her mother, who was seated in the gondola directly behind her. One witness described seeing Salma in a "semi-standing" position seconds before she fell to her death.

Other amusement ride patrons testified about problems they experienced with the safety bars on the ride's 12 gondolas in the months leading up to the tragedy.

One told the hearing that an attendant used a screwdriver and hammer to force open the lock of a safety bar after it jammed.

In an inquest, an open verdict is a legal decision which records a death but does not state its cause.

According to the Manchester News, Cheshire coroner Nicholas Rheinberg announced Friday that he would write the managing director of Gulliver's World to tell her the theme park should have at least one person at board level be responsible for health and safety issues, and that employees should receive proper training.

"Salma's mother lives with the daily trauma of a mother whose child has died in front of her, and the daily guilt that she allowed a ride attendant to split her from her child," the family's attorney Andrew Kirkpatrick told reporters after the hearing was over.



Website Points Users To Wheelchair-Friendly Pubs And Restaurants

July 9 2004

EPPING FOREST, ENGLAND--The following three paragraphs are excerpts from a brief item in Friday's Epping Forest Guardian:

A new website listing wheelchair-friendly pubs and restaurants is calling for Epping Forest residents to log on and ensure that the Epping Forest district is fairly represented.

Born of a personal "despair", Mary Dixon, 50, from east London, created, a first of its kind comprehensive resource guide to eating and drinking out.

Mrs. Dixon has started a personal crusade to list as many access-friendly establishments across the UK as possible and is appealing to Guardian readers to help update the website and ensure Epping Forest's pubs and restaurants are fairly represented.

Entire article:
"Access on the web" (Epping Forest Guardian)
Your Level Best



Dan Keplinger: King Gimp Virtual Gallery


# From the IDE Archives -- One year ago:

Son Talks After 19-Year Coma
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 9, 2003

LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS--During the 19 years since their son, Terry, had an auto accident that left him in a coma, Jerry and Angilee Wallis say there were times they thought it would have been best that he had not survived.

"It has crossed my mind several times, probably," said Angilee.

Jerry agreed. "I thought it might have been best . . . for him, not for me."

But they continued to hold hope for his improvement.

Last month, their patience paid off.

On June 12, Terry looked directly at his parents -- and started talking.

"He just said, 'Mom,'" Angilee said. "I like to fell over."

"I said, 'Terry, what can you say?' He said, 'Anything I want.'"

Terry's family is now trying to help him catch up with what has happened since 1984.

"Man speaks after 19-year silence" (CNN)


Check in with other Inclusion Daily Express readers:


Have Google look for specific words or phrases in Inclusion Daily Express editions going back to December 1999:


Click here for the rest of today's disability-related news:


Tell your friends and colleagues about Inclusion Daily Express!

Inclusion Daily Express

© Copyright 2004 Inonit Publishing. Please do not reprint, post or forward without permission.
Reprint guidelines:

Inonit Publishing
3231 W. Boone Ave., # 711, Spokane, Washington 99201 USA
Phone: 509-326-5811
Dave Reynolds, Editor