Abuse Complaint Against
Michael Schiavo Made Public

By Jeff Johnson
Senior Staff Writer

( - The Florida agency responsible for protecting disabled and elderly individuals released a sealed, 30-count allegation against Michael Schiavo Friday. The "motion for intervention and stay" charges that Terri Schindler Schiavo's husband has abused, neglected and exploited her while seeking the court's permission to end her life.
The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) asked Pinellas-Pasco County Circuit Judge George Greer last week to give it 60 days to investigate the 11-page complaint.
The DCF motion, released Friday, argues that the agency cannot complete the investigation or provide Terri with services required by law if the 60-day stay is not granted.
"The allegations in the abuse reports go to the heart of whether abuse, neglect and/or exploitation [have] been perpetrated by [Michael Schiavo]," DCF attorneys wrote, "such that any relief afforded by this court to [him] prior to the conclusion of such investigation would be tragically misplaced."
The complaint accuses Schiavo of:
* Failure to exercise Terri's arms, resulting in "severe contractures,"
* Failure to provide appropriate medical therapy,
* Failure to investigate the rehabilitation value of newly available technologies,
* Interference in communication with and visitation by Terri's family members and friends,
* Denial of access to independent legal counsel,
* Failure to file guardianship reports as required by law,
* Failure to provide required legal notices to Terri, and
* Performing experimental procedures without following proper medical and legal procedures.
The agency concluded that an injunction against Michael Schiavo removing Terri's feeding tube, "would prevent irreparable and immediate harm from occurring by allowing these and other allegations to be investigated."
The agency also reminded Judge Greer that "The court's determination that it has reviewed some or all of these facts does not relieve DCF from discharging its investigative duties."
The motion notes that DCF is bound by Florida law to investigate the allegations and that the courts have been denied authority to prohibit such investigations. Additionally, the agency is responsible for providing protective services to disabled individuals when their loved ones cannot or will not provide those services.
"Plainly stated, due to the investigation and potential need for examination of the alleged victim, surroundings and circumstances as required by law," DCF attorneys wrote, "DCF is interested, directly and immediately, in that part of the guardianship proceeding which calls for the removal of life support, because such action would deny DCF's ability to meet its statutory duty."
Greer is expected to rule next week on whether he will allow the agency to intervene in the case and proceed with its investigation. If he refuses, DCF could seek a protective order from a higher court giving the agency access to Terri and forbidding anyone from removing her feeding tube.
George Felos, attorney for Schiavo and a recognized "right-to-die" advocate and author, has previously denied that his client was mistreating Terri in any way. He accused DCF's actions of being politically motivated.



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