Gary Harvey received a special treat for his birthday on February 27, 2013. On that day, and only on that day, Gary’s wife was allowed to kiss Gary on the cheek two times. Gary’s wife was also allowed to hold his hand for five minutes.
Gary is not a criminal. Neither is his wife, Sara Harvey. Gary is a disabled adult.
In 2006, Gary suffered a head injury that left him in a vegetative state. Gary is completely dependent on caregivers for all of his care. Gary’s wife, Sara, was by his side at the facility for months. Sara became trained on Gary’s care and made arrangements to bring him home.
In 2007, the Chemung County Court placed the Public Guardian in control of Gary’s life. In a story familiar to many victims of the court system, false allegations were made against Sara. Lacking the legal savvy to navigate a hostile court environment, Sara lost all voice in Gary’s care.
Services of the Public Guardian include isolating Gary from loved ones, including Sara. Many weeks can pass with Gary and Sara not allowed visitation. When visits are allowed, they are closely observed and videotaped.
Services provided by the Public Guardian also included an attempt to end Gary’s life. In 2009, the Public Guardian petitioned the court to allow withholding all food and water. The Public Guardian wished to end Gary’s life by starvation and dehydration. The court did not allow the Public Guardian to terminate Gary, but the restrictions and harassment continue.
In honor of Gary’s birthday in 2013, Elizabeth Beckwith of Adult Services generously allowed Gary and Sara to hold hands for five minutes. Sara was also allowed to kiss Gary on the cheek.
Comments can be directed to the Human Resources Center in Elmira New York at (607) 737-5403.
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES
ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT DIVISION
HUMAN RESOURCE CENTER
425 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE
P.O. BOX 588
ELMIRA, NEW YORK 14902-0588
(607) 737-5403 FAX (607) 737-5500
Deretha Watterson, LCSW-
Commissioner Children and Family Services
TO: Theresa Duffy, SJH and CIS
FROM: Elizabeth Beckwith, Adult Services
RE: Gary visitation
During Gary’s visit today, 2/27/13, Sara Harvey is permitted the following actions:
- Kiss Gary two times on the cheek.
- Hold hand under the following conditions:
- Hands are visible at all times by the monitor (CIS staff person and camera).
- Sara’s hand should NOT be moving at all when holding Gary’s hand.
Please note that the above two actions shall only be permitted under the above conditions. IF Sara deviates at any time during today’s visit from these stated expectations, then all touching should stop immediately.
These permitted actions cease at the end of the visit today.