Psychiatrist retracts 'abusive mom' evaluation

Dr. Weill now says woman may be danger to her children; 2 police officers stoned outside her home.

child starving mother with guard 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
child starving mother with guard 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Dr. Yaakov Weill, the psychiatrist who was appointed by the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court to examine the haredi mother who allegedly starved her son at the Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem, has retracted his initial evaluation, and told the court that "it is not certain that the mother can function as a parent," it was reported on Tuesday. In a letter, which reached the mother's attorneys on Sunday and supplemented his initial evaluation, Weill wrote: "I have reached the conclusion that I want to retract the sentence that reads, 'To my professional evaluation the examinee is capable of continuing to carry out her maternal duties, with no danger.'" Addressing Eda Haredit rabbis, Weill explained that he could not reach a clear-cut conclusion on the issue. "I would like to stress that I did not consider myself a court-appointed expert witness, but rather as complying with your request," he wrote. Hadassah Medical Center pediatricians had suspected that the mother suffers from the rare Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSP) and deliberately caused her toddler harm to get attention and be close to medical facilities. Weill, who is not Orthodox, was asked by the court to examine the woman from the Toldot Aharon hassidic community, which agreed to his selection. He spent a few hours with the woman last week, who is being kept under house arrest, and determined that she did not suffer from MSP, posed no danger to her other children, and was fit to stand trial. The chief district psychiatrist, however, told the court Thursday that the evaluation was unclear on whether the woman posed a danger to her children, officials said. The mother's legal team on Tuesday charged in response that elements dissatisfied with Weill's original evaluation were trying to discredit it. "All these claims were made post factum," attorney David Halevi said. "While Weill was accepted by the Eda Haredit, his name was suggested by the prosecution. He provided an in-depth, reasoned evaluation, after meeting my client a number of times." Over the weekend, the Jerusalem's District Court rejected an appeal the prosecution filed against the Magistrate's Court decision to allow the woman to serve the remainder of her house arrest in her own home. Meanwhile, on Tuesday night, two police officers were pelted with stones when they arrived at the woman's Mea She'arim home. No one was wounded in the incident. Judy Siegel and Etgar Lefkovits contributed to this report.