Court finds cause to restrict movements of mother charged with starving her son

Judge rules state has established "reasonable chance" woman will be convicted.

starving mother 248 88 aj (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimsky)
starving mother 248 88 aj
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimsky)
Jerusalem District Court Judge Moshe Ravid ruled on Wednesday that the state had established there was a "reasonable chance" the woman accused of starving her three-year-old son would be convicted. The ruling made it likely that the mother, Y., will be be placed under house arrest outside of her Mea Shearim home during her trial, and the court will begin hearings on the matter on Monday. Y. has been under house arrest since July 24, but the state had requested she be moved out of the Jerusalem neighborhood because police and welfare workers trying to keep tabs on the well-being of her children were being attacked by her haredi neighbors. The district court rejected the request, but the Supreme Court ordered it to consider whether Y. posed a threat to the child; if it was determined that she did, there would be grounds to move her. The evidence presented to Ravid on August 23 included testimony from doctors and nurses from the hospitals where the child, Ch., was treated between February and July, but he appeared to have been most convinced by the rapid improvement in the boy's condition following his separation from his mother. In his decision, Ravid wrote: "One only has to look at the photographs of Ch. to see the extent of the horror and fear that gripped him when the defendant, who was responsible for his welfare and health, allegedly perpetrated grave acts which went so far as to endanger his life." "According to pictures of him taken just after the defendant was ordered to stay away from him, the boy's body was nothing more than skin and bones, his cheeks were sunken and his weight, at the age of three-and-a-half, was only seven kilograms. He also had red, bleeding sores and lesions on various parts of his body. "Just two weeks later, Ch., in pictures taken in the hospital, looked like a human being, his body sported several more kilograms, the color had returned to his cheeks and body and the lesions were in an advanced state of healing." Ravid concluded that the evidence presented to him at the August 23 hearing, taken together with the comprehensive evidence the state would be presenting during the trial, provided "a prima facie evidential basis establishing a reasonable chance of convicting the defendant of the crimes attributed to her in the indictment." The ruling was in a sense academic, as it dealt only with the interim period between August 4 (when the state filed its indictment) and when the court makes its final decision after examining the evidence, which was made available only after the indictment was filed. However, Wednesday's ruling opened the door for the state to possibly request at next week's hearing that Y. be separated from her other children as well. "The lack of cooperation on the part of the defendant in upholding the court's decisions could further strengthen the possible conclusion that she poses a threat to her other children as well," the judge wrote.