Tallahassee, FL -- The Florida Department of Children & Families has asked a judge to close the file detailing the case of a 22-year-old developmentally disabled woman who was raped and became pregnant while living in a group home.
In its motion filed Wednesday, DCF contends the woman, known in court as J.D.S., is a victim of a sexual battery and that her identity should be exempt from public-records laws. The file includes her name. It also says her health information, some of which is included in the file, is protected from disclosure under federal law.
J.D.S.'s attorney has agreed with the state's request to seal the file.
Most guardianship cases are public record, and The Orlando Sentinel and The Miami Herald have filed a motion objecting to the state's request, arguing the public has a right to know about the controversial case.
"An order restricting access to the records would impede the right of the public to monitor this important proceeding through
the news media," wrote Gregg D. Thomas and David S. Bralow, attorneys for the newspapers.
The attorneys also requested a hearing on the issue. Kirkwood had not ruled on the issue late Tuesday.
DCF and pro-life Gov. Jeb Bush have stated plans to request a second guardian for the unborn child, a position that has drawn fierce criticism from abortion advocates.
On Tuesday, the Christian Coalition of Florida filed a brief asking the judge for protection of the baby. The pro-life group said an "elected official" who is not from the state of Florida is willing to adopt the child, but did not identify the official.
Carolyn Kunkle, deputy director of the group, said a dozen adoption agencies and 15 families also are interested in providing a home for the baby after a potential birth as well as for the baby of a severely disabled Miami woman who also is six months pregnant. A judge on Friday ordered doctors to perform an abortion on the 28-year-old Miami woman, who suffers from seizures and whose health is threatened by the pregnancy.
ACTION: Pro-life advocates are encouraged to contact Jackson Memorial Hospital and encourage it to refuse to perform the abortion on the disabled Miami woman. You can find contact information for the hospital at http://www.um-jmh.org/JHS/Jackson.html and for the hospital's Board of Trustees at http://www.um-jmh.org/JHS/Executive_Staff.html