Autism Daily Newscast has been keeping track of any developments in the Sharisa Kochmeister case and what we consider to be a violation of her human rights. This reporter fully expected Sharisa to have been returned back to her parents by now, but after speaking with her father, Jan Kochmeister and asking for an update, I’ve found out that this is still not the case.
Jan has given Autism Daily Newscast a recap which can be read below. For anyone who is unfamiliar with his daughter’s case, here is the background.
The Kochmeister’s 37 year old daughter, Sharisa, was forcibly removed from their care in March with the allegations of abuse and neglect by a hospital to which they had willingly taken her to be tested for seizures, rage attacks and profuse vomiting.
The abuse allegations were overturned by the police and DA of that county. but their home county went to court in May requesting guardianship and declaring her “incapacitated” because Sharisa wouldn’t communicate with them. Sharisa will only communicates with people she feels she can fully trust via one finger via keyboard devices.
Sharisa was kept in the hospital for about 7 weeks before she was moved to a nursing home with elderly patients, many of whom had Alzheimers. Another 8 weeks passed before they found her a “host home” more than an hour from her parents home. In addition the location, address and phone contact info have all been withheld from the family.
Sharisa has clearly and consistently communicated that she requires legal representation and wishes to go home.
Jan Kochmeister gives his account of an exchange between Sharisa and Guardian Ad Lite, during a recent contact visit with Sharisa, were she requested unbiased legal representation. Sharissa stated the following during visits on August 10 and 17:
‘I direly need my own attorney. I want weekly visits with my parents and friends.
‘When am I coming home?’
She was told by the Guardian Ad Litem (GAL):
‘That’s not a decision for your dad or stepmom or you to make. The judge says you are not going home right now. You do not have that choice.’
Sharisa replied; ‘I have rights, dammit… I want to talk directly to the judge. She doesn’t know the real me!’ The GAL responded:
‘But you are not communicating with other people.’
The county caseworker and host home parent both corrected this mistaken message. Sharisa further added, ‘do your due diligence.’ To which the GAL responded with, ‘what is my due diligence?’ Sharisa replied:
‘to represent me and not Jeffco (our county) or to find someone who will. I see a conflict of interest.’
The GAL replied:
‘There is a conflict of interest, I agree. I think of what is in your best interests, not of what you think is best for you!’
Sharisa smiled and hummed and responded:
‘I need someone I can really trust. I have set precedents in New York and Connecticut.’
The GAL replied:
‘How long ago was that, 10 years? How can we feel confident that you can do that now?’
‘Relevance? Open your eyes, ears and mind!’ The GAL said: ‘Is there anything else you want us to know?’
‘I am a sentient person and demand my ADA (American Disabilities Act) rights! I will sue all who seek to silence and deny me.’
The caseworker then asked, ‘Joy, is there anyone else who you truly trust to communicate with and who would that be?’
Sharisa responded with a list of 7 names. At this point, the GAL shut down the conversation about rights and responsibilities and Sharisa kissed us goodbye before they removed her from the room.
In addition, Sharisa said ‘My name is not Joy.’ There were 3 sheriff’s deputies guarding the doorway to the library meeting room where we had this supervised visit.
Jan told us that this was quite intimidating and a clear waste of taxpayer money! During this time Sharisa had a birthday which her family were unable to properly celebrate with her, denied even the permission to take photographs of her. Jan says,
“We were forbidden from taking photos both at this meeting and at the birthday party which she was asleep through.
“The few sporadic visits we and her friends have been allowed were at “neutral locations” with highly structured and invasive supervision, including the presence of sheriff’s deputies.”
Sharisa has requested weekly visits at least with the Kochmeisters, but these have been ignored under the argument that her schedule is “too busy“. Jan adds:
“They keep putting us off and jacking us around and show no signs of stopping before our next scheduled court date, which isn’t until February, 2016!”
This is a horrific case of a grown woman unwillingly removed from her family’s care; repeatedly ignored in her requests for representation; held against her will; denied basic family contact and allowed only to see them under strict observation with no legitimate rationale. It is time to end such a violation of her human rights.
Autism Daily Newscast hopes to update our readers again soon with more positive news.