7 Nov: Minnesota Resident Gets Involuntary Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) On A Weekly Ongoing *Outpatient* Basis. Action: How You Can Easily E-mail Minnesota Governor.

Like all other USA states, Minnesota has loopholes allowing citizens to receive electroshock over their expressed wishes.

UPDATE TO BELOW – To get the latest about Ray Sandford, go to the following GATEWAY PAGE about Ray campaign, to find alerts, frequently asked questions, links to video and radio reports, and more

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Ray Alert #1 – 7 November 2008

Human Rights Alert: Involuntary Electroshock

by David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International

The past Wednesday morning after the historic USA election what were you doing?

I know what Ray Sandford, 54, was doing.

Each and every Wednesday, early in the morning, staff shows up at Ray’s sheltered living home called Victory House in Columbia Heights, Minnesota, adjacent to Minneapolis.

Staff escorts Ray the 15 miles to Mercy Hospital.

There, Ray is given another of his weekly electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatments, also known as electroshock. All against his will. On an outpatient basis.

And it’s been going on for months.

Ray says the weekly forced electroshock “scary as hell.” He absolutely opposes having the procedure. He says it’s causing poor memory for names such as of friends and his favorite niece. “What am I supposed to do, run away?” Instead, Ray phoned his local library’s reference desk to ask about human rights groups, and the librarian referred him to MindFreedom International.

Ray called me at our office here at MindFreedom International about two weeks ago. At first I wasn’t sure I believed him.

Of course, MindFreedom International has documented proven cases of electroshock against the expressed wishes of the subject all over the world, including in the USA. MindFreedom succeeded in having the United Nations World Health Organization call in writing for a global ban on all involuntary electroshock.

But this is the first time I’ve been on the phone with someone getting court-ordered forced shock while living out in the community, on an outpatient basis.

This is the ultimate double whammy.

I confirmed Ray’s story by calling two staff at Victory House as well as his court-appointed  conservator, Tonya Wilhelm of Luthern Support Services of Minnesota.

Ms. Wilhelm said, “We are following the letter of the law.” She said the State of Minnesota had secured a variety of court orders that require Ray to have forced electroshock against his expressed wishes. Ms. Wilehlm says it’s all legal and she can’t do anything about it.

Krista Erickson, chair of MindFreedom’s Shield Campaign, sees it differently. “This is terrible. This is a serious human rights violation that should stop. I hope MindFreedom members and supporters speak out. Even if Minnesota is following the letter of the current law, the law ought to be changed. And Ray has not had the legal power to appeal to higher courts.”

I pointed out to Conservator Wilhelm that the public — when they find out about forced electroshock — is passionately opposed to their taxpayer money being used to force such brutality on citizens. Ms. Wilhelm did let slip that what is happening to Ray — involuntary outpatient electroshock — is not that uncommon in Minnesota.

But when Ms. Wilhelm found out we at MindFreedom are issuing one of our public human rights alert to you and others at Ray’s repeated request, she said something amazing.

Ms. Wilhelm claimed she had a legal right to stop us!

Ms. Wilhelm told me, “Only I can give you permission legally to say anything publicly about this.”

I pointed out we are not a medical facility, and that if she falsely claims we’re doing anything illegal then this is defamation. Which really is illegal.

Ms. Wilhelm laughed loudly in the phone, said “let our lawyers talk,” and hung up on me. I hope she hung up and read the First Amendment.

Let’s disobey Ms. Wilhelm!

Spread Ray’s alert far and wide!

Speak out against this electrical torture, now!

Because… Remember…

If it’s Wednesday morning, then Ray Sandford is being led from his home — which is supposed to be his castle — to get another weekly forced procedure that can wipe out memories and cause brain damage.

Mind Your Freedom!

Disobey Ray’s conservator now!

Forward this alert to all appropriate places on and off the Internet, IMMEDIATELY!

And take the below actions.

Thank you!

– David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International


 * * * ACTION * * * ACTION * * * ACTION * * *

You can do this in a moment. It’s free! DO IT NOW!

E-mail your firm but polite message to Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.

SAMPLE MESSAGE — your own words are best:

“Investigate the weekly involuntary outpatient electroshock of Ray Sandford. Every Wednesday morning, MindFreedom states Ray is brought from Victory House in Columbia Heights, Minnesota to Mercy Hospital for forced electroshock. Stop all forced electroshock today! Taxpayer money should not fund torture!”

E-mail address:

Or use this handy web form:

or this link:

To fax Governor Pawlenty: (651) 296-2089



1) E-mail a complaint to Luthern Social Services of Minnesota (LSSMN) about Ray’s conservator.

Sample message:

“Investigate allegations that Luthern Support Services of Minnesota employee Tonya Wilhelm tried to stop a public human rights alert by MindFreedom International about her client, Ray Sandford, who is receiving weekly involuntary electroshock at Mercy Hospital in Minneapolis. If verified, please reprimand, fire and replace Ms. Wilhelm. Please place this in her personnel record. Please support human rights.”

Use LSSMN’s web page:

Or phone Luthern Social Services at: 218-726-4888

You can copy your message to headquarters of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA):

From ELCA’s web site about their church: “It’s a story of a powerful and patient God who has boundless love for all people of the world, who brings justice for the oppressed.”

More at:

2) E-mail a complaint to Allina Hospital and Clinics, owner of Mercy Hospital.

Sample message:

“Investigate allegations that your patient Ray Sandford of Victory House is receiving involuntary outpatient electroconvulsive therapy against his will each Wednesday at Mercy Hospital. “

Use this web page:

Or phone: (763) 236-6000

3) Ray is open to visitors and supportive postal mail:

Ray Sandford
Victory House
4427 Monroe St.
Columbia Heights, MN 55421-2880 USA


Say “no” to mental health system censorship!

Disobey Ray’s conservator now!

PLEASE forward this public human alert to all appropriate places on and off the Internet, IMMEDIATELY! Thank you!


More info:

Plenty of data on electroshock on the MindFreedom web site, click here:

Watch upcoming blog entries by David W. Oaks, MFI Director:


NONVIOLENTLY ZAP BACK against forced electroshock!

NOW are you ready for nonviolent revolution in mental health?

Join, renew, and support MindFreedom TODAY!

Be part of the MFI Fall 2008 Support Drive, click here:


If you are a current MFI member you’re welcome on e-mail lists currently discussing Ray’s campaign. Members can ask the MindFreedom office for more information.

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