Public criticism has risen about the general guardian for Ray Sandford — Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota [LSSMN]. While LSSMN is not directly in charge of Ray’s electroshock, they could do far more to speak out and support Ray. Instead, LSSMN has actively blocked Ray’s campaign. Because of the controversy, LSSMN hired an attorney, George Borer, to defend their position publicly. Unfortunately, Mr. Borer has been sending out messages that, in MindFreedom’s opinion, could chill the free speech of advocates for Ray’s human rights.
Name: George Borer, attorney in the law firm Sweeney Borer & Sweeney
City/State: St. Paul, Minnesota
Connection to Ray’s case: Mr. Borer was hired by Ray’s general guardians, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota [LSSMN] to handle the public controversy that has emerged because of the ongoing, involuntary electroshock of Ray Sandford.
While LSSMN is not directly in charge of Ray’s forced electroshock, LSSMN has obstructed Ray’s campaign, when they should be helping him.
Mr. Borer could be speaking out to defend Ray and support Ray’s campaign against forced electroshock. Instead, at LSSMN’s request, Mr. Borer has sent out letters that could act to discourage advocates from speaking out.
- March 4 2009: When LSSMN discovered that an advocate was preparing a video of Ray Sandford and his mom, begging for the forced electroshock to end, Mr. Borer sent the advocate a letter, saying that LSSMN did not give permission for the video to be disseminated, and requesting that the original be delivered to Mr. Borer. While the threatening letter was ignored, many people could be intimidated by this type of thing.
- You may read a copy of the letter by Mr. Borer to the advocate by clicking here:http://www.mindfreedom.org/shield/ray/george-f-borer-200903-image.jpg/view
- Decide for yourself. You may view a copy of the YouTube video that Mr. Borer attempted to stop from being disseminated. Watch a video of Ray Sandford and his mother begging for his forced electroshock to end by clicking here.
- 1 December 2008: Mr. Borer sent MindFreedom a letter (see text below) stating that LSSMN did not give permission to MindFreedom to disseminate information about Ray’s campaign. By phone, Mr. Borer admitted that LSSMN could not actually stop MindFreedom from issuing alerts about Ray’s campaign, because of the First Amendment. However, a lot of people receiving such a letter from an attorney might feel “chilled,” in terms of their First Amendment rights.
- In November 2008, Mr. Borer contacted MindFreedom, and stated that Ray Sandford had requested that his campaign suddenly end, based on information provided to him by LSSMN. We contacted Ray, and this report was of course untrue. From the first moment Ray Sandford has contacted MindFreedom, to his frequent phone calls, about every other day, Ray has consistently, persistently and absolutely supported his campaign to end forced electroshock. On the phone Mr. Borer retracted his allegation, and has not made any further such claims.
In other words, instead of fighting on behalf of Ray Sandford, a client of LSSMN, Mr. Borer has been issuing letters that, in MindFreedom’s opinion, could act to chill the free speech of advocates.
Public position on Ray Sandford’s forced outpatient electroshock: Will not comment about Mr. Sandford’s forced electroshock.
Public position in general on outpatient involuntary electroshock over expressed wishes of subject: Will not comment on forced electroshock.
IMPORTANT NOTE:MindFreedom and Ray endorse nonviolence principles. Even if an individual or agency opposes Ray’s human rights, MindFreedom and Ray ask that any communication be civil.
Contact Mr. Borer and ask him to stop squelching the free speech of advocates concerned about Ray Sandford. Mr. Borer ought to instead be taking actions to defend Mr. Sandford’s rights.
E-mail for Mr. Borer is:
You may write to him:
George F. Borer
Sweeney Borer & Sweeney
3250 Rice Street,
St. Paul, MN 55126
Discouraging Ray’s Campaign Against Forced Electroshock
Here is the text of the 1 December 2008 letter that Mr. Borer sent to MindFreedom:
Dear Mr. Oaks:
I am writing in response to your e-mail of November 28, 2008. There are a few items in the e-mail on which I would like to comment.
First, as we discussed, I contacted the Civil Commitment Court this morning (Friday was a holiday) regarding legal representation for Mr. Sandford. The Court indicated that Jon Duckstad remains as Mr. Sandfordís court-appointed attorney and that the appointment of another attorney would be in the discretion of the Court. I was also told that Mr. Duckstad is out of town until tomorrow. I left an urgent message for him to call me immediately upon his return. If Mr. Duckstad and Mr. Sandford agree, I believe the Court will appoint another attorney for purposes of challenging the forced ECT Treatments.
Secondly, I want to emphasize that Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (ìLSSî) as the Court appointed Guardian and Conservator for Mr. Sandford has not signed a release and has not consented (either expressly or implied) to the publication, dissemination and distribution of private information about Mr. Sandford contained on your website, and as further distributed on other web sites. It is my understanding from your e-mail that Mr. Sandford has consented to the use of his private information, but I am confirming that LSS has not.
Thank you for your consideration of this matter.
Very truly yours,
SWEENEY, BORER & SWEENEY
George F. Borer
Additional Information on George F. Borer
George F. Borer and his law firm also are the City Attorney’s office for Blaine MN, according to the Anoka County Public Officials Guide for 2009. You may download a PDF of this Guide, and refer to page 22 about the City of Blaine:
To make a comment about Mr. Borer’s work on the Ray Sandford case, you may e-mail to Tom Ryan, the Mayor of Blaine, at