Forum on parental rights inspired by Godboldo case

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

A forum Saturday in Detroit will focus on parents’ rights regarding legal and medical issues and feature an attorney for a woman who fought to withhold psychiatric medication she considered unsafe for her daughter.

The event, from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, 18700 James Couzens Freeway, is being hosted by the church’s social justice ministry and sponsored by the Maryanne Godboldo Forum for Parental Rights.

Godboldo was involved in a five-year court battle stemming from criminal charges leveled against her for refusing to give her disabled daughter anti-psychotic drugs. She was involved in a police standoff in March 2011 when she defied social service authorities who wanted to give the special-needs child a psychiatric medicine.

Attorney Alison Folmar, who represented Godboldo during part of her legal battle, will participate in the forum, along with representatives from parental rights organizations.

Godboldo, who died in October 2017, became a symbol of parents’ right to refuse medical treatments for their children.

“Maryanne Godboldo withstood a 10-hour standoff with police, including an armed assault by a SWAT team and a military tank for refusing to give her daughter a harmful, potentially lethal psychotropic drug,” Folmar said Thursday. “While the police attempted to negotiate an end to the standoff, CPS promised Maryanne that her daughter would not be taken away from her family to a psychiatric facility, nor be given drugs already proven harmful to her. They lied on both counts.”

Folmar said the girl, then 13, was taken away and “forcibly” detained for five weeks in a child psychiatric institution, where she was sexually assaulted and stripped of her prosthetic leg.

Godboldo was charged with resisting and assaulting police by allegedly firing a shot at officers.

Last year, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office dismissed the charges against Godboldo. At the time, office spokeswoman Maria Miller said, “It has been determined that Ms. Godboldo is not expected to gain competency to stand trial.”

The event is free and open to the public but registration is encouraged. Donations are accepted. For more information or to RSVP, call (313) 867-7707.

(313) 222-2027