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A lawsuit on behalf of 10 disabled children who were fraudulently adopted by an ex-Laurelton woman who used their adoptions to make more than a million dollars raises questions about the justice system. The children’s lawyers are looking for a $68 million settlement.
The defendants in the lawsuit are two adoption agencies, one of which has closed, and the city. The two agencies that remain are HeartShare Human Services of New York and SCO Family of Services.
What the adopting parent, Judith Leekin, did was horrific. She used four aliases to adopt the children, who suffered from serious disabilities, and moved them to Florida, where she kept them in cages. If she spends the rest of her life in prison, it will not be punishment enough. It also will not help the children.
It would only add to the harm done by this woman if it means that HeartShare and SCO will have less funding to do their work. We are certain they go to great lengths to ensure children are placed in suitable, loving homes. But these agencies are also Leekin’s victims.
We hope the judge hearing this suit will balance the needs of the 10 victims with the need for SCO and HeartShare to continue their work.
It is sad that 15 Muslim leaders elected to boycott the mayor’s annual interfaith breakfast last week. They have legitimate concerns that could have been addressed in that forum.
The breakfast was not so much about the mayor as it was about bringing the leaders of the city’s religions together. The boycotters are angry about the use of undercover police to conduct surveillance efforts in their houses of worship.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the counterterrorism programs are legal and justified. But Rabbi Michael Weisser, who attended the breakfast, said it appears the NYPD is targeting the Muslim community.
There is evidence that extremist Muslims have attempted to recruit and exploit young Muslims. Until the threat of terrorism no longer exists, the NYPD has to follow every possible lead, but not by infiltrating respected Muslim institutions with no history of radical activity.
The boycotters missed a chance to have a dialogue with people of all faiths and that is regrettable.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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