Updated November 24, 2021
KEEP THE HEAT UP FOR DAVID!
Updated November 24, 2021
We still do not know where David is and we are doubling down on our efforts to find and free him. See this press release HERE Please help David! To view the original alert scroll down to 10/19/2021
Today’s recommended action is
1) File a complaint against Judge Zanic (see below)
2) Continue to write to Huntingdon County Commissioners. For instructions and an example, scroll down.
Other grass-roots organizations are starting to join MFI and RTFCIL by demanding that lawmakers find and free David Italiano.
A special thanks to ‘Put People First’ members in Pennsylvania for contacting Huntingdon County Commissioners last week.
Another special thanks to Lily for alerting National Association to End Guardianship Abuse which posted David’s Shield alert on their website HERE and agreeing to conduct a radio interview with Karen Koch of RTFCIL.
Have you written to the Commissioners yet? If not, please do so today.
A few minutes of your time can make a difference. The commissioners email addresses are listed below. HERE is an example of a simple email.
As always, please cc your email to email@example.com or post on the comments on our website HERE A simple email with a few talking points is sufficient. For an example, read this brief but excellent.
If you already wrote to the commissions, please report Judge Zanic who ignored evidence presented by a mental health professional at a hearing declaring that David Italiano to be competent. He appointed a guardian who continues to ignore David’s wishes, hides him and prevents him from having contact with the outside world.
File a complaint against Judge Zanic for ruling on the case of David Italiano, despite having a conflict of interest.
- Judge Zanic, was formerly employed as the legal counsel for Huntingdon County AAA before being elected as the President Judge of Huntingdon County.
- Over Mr. Italiano’s objections, Judge Zanic appointed, Huntingdon County AAA, his former client to be David Italiano’s permanent guardianship even though an expert witness declared David Italiano to be mentally competent.
File a complaint with the Judicial Conduct Board of Pennsylvania HERE
Updated November 12, 2021
DAVID IS STILL MISSING!
It has been nearly a year since David Italiano was disappeared in Pennsylvania’s broken guardianship system, a black hole which many elderly people, psychiatric survivors, and people with disabilities fall into, often with lethal consequences.
It has been over three weeks since MindFreedom International issued an official Shield alert for David Italiano. MFI learned of his plight from Roads to Freedom Center for Independent Living (RTF) earlier in the year after RTF staff tried to help David move from a congregate facility back into his own home before he was disappeared in retaliation.
The goal of the alert is to find him, confirm his safety, and make sure that he is respected and treated like a human being as opposed to being locked up in a nursing home and forced to wear an ankle bracelet, as he was when RTF staff last were able to communicate with him.
What is happening to him could happen to any of us. We must protect David Italiano and in doing so, send a clear message to lawmakers and people who work for any oppressive system: psychiatric facilities, geriatric facilities, group homes, etc. that we will not tolerate human rights abuses, especially as it concerns the care of people with psycho social disabilities.
Remember, David Italiano does not have a psychiatric diagnosis. He is not in a psychiatric facility. This alert is a joint effort between MFI and RTFCIL. This Shield alert illustrates the overlapping problems faced by both psychiatric survivors and people with disabilities.
If you have not contacted Senator Toomey, Governor Wolf. and the other lawmakers listed in previous alerts (archived below) please contact them today! If you have already contacted those lawmakers, please contact the Huntingdon County commissioners, the focus of today’s Shield update..
The Huntingdon County Commissioners hold the purse strings of the agency that is hiding David Italiano.
Read the many, eloquent letters, especially the one by Meaghan Graef (scroll down to comments section below) for inspiration or the talking points in earlier updates below when comprising your email.
ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE THIS WEEKEND!
Call or write an email alerting Huntingdon County Commissioners to the treatment and disappearance of David Italiano in Pennsylvania’s broken guardian system and send the email to every Huntingdon County commissioner listed below. Be sure to cc firstname.lastname@example.org or post your email on the comments section below. Be sure to tell the Commissioners that the Huntingdon County AAA has assumed guardianship of David Italiano against David’s wishes and that they will not disclose his whereabouts of confirm his safety or allow him to have contact with his chosen advocate Roads to Freedom Center for Independent Living, in accordance with Pennsylvania’s guardianship statutes and in accordance with David’s civil liberties under the Olmstead Ruling. You can find talking points below.
Updated November 9 2021
Thanks to a Shield volunteer (not sure if I can out her by name) we now possess a very important court document which will greatly help the Shield campaign for David Italiano. Please visit this page soon for new important actions you can take to find and free David based on this new finding.
If you haven’t written yet to Sen Casey, Rep Irvin, Sen. Toobey, or Governor Wolf yet, please do so today!
Ron Bassman, Executive Director of MFI, submitted this letter to the Governor HERE
Updated November 5, 2021
Please continue to help David Italiano!. It is critical that Shield members continue to take action. His situation is urgent. If you haven’t written to Pennsylvania lawmakers below, please do so today by scrolling down to letter writing resources posted below on 10/19/21 and 10/27/21
If you already written to lawmakers in Pennsylvania, please contact the media!
Write a letter to the editor of the Huntingdon County Daily News HERE
Write an opinion piece to Pennsylvania Capital Star HERE
Write a letter to the editor of the Pennsylvania Inquirer HEREand select ‘Letter to the Editor’
Contact WPCN radio station in Huntingdon County HERE
Call WPCN Phone: 216-916-6100/Toll Free: 877-399-3307
The following press release distributed by MFI is provided for informational purposes.
The Alert updated on 10/29/21
For original alert (and actions) scroll down to 10/19/2021
If you have already the actions listed in the original alert dated 10/19/21 Thank you! The situation involving David is considered urgent until we find David and communicate with him once again! Please continue to take action today. We will post a different action each week. The action we recommend this week is to call or write to Senator Toomey.
320 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17108
Letter Template in PDF HERE
(more formats coming soon)
Contact Senator Toomey using the contact form on his website:
“Don’t Murder Me!” reads an excerpt from the journal of David Italiano, a disabled individual who was ‘Disappeared’ in Pennsylvania’s Broken Guardianship System. Take Action Today! Help Us Find David and Restore His Rights!
MindFreedom International (MFI) in conjunction with Roads to Freedom Center for Independent Living (RTFCIL), is launching a Shield Alert to locate and establish the well-being of David Italiano, an elderly person in Pennsylvania who has been ‘disappeared’ by a government funded agency called the Huntingdon County Area Agency (AAA) in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania.
Please help us find David Italiano and confirm his well being. Help David exercise his right to receive appropriate services to help him to live independently in his own home!
A complete history of David’s story can be found in our website HERE. A brief summary follows and below that, recommended actions for Shield members to take.
Last year, after complaining of spousal abuse, David was placed under a temporary guardianship and moved to a congregate facility 120+ miles from where he lives. At David’s request, RTFCIL consented to help David put together his own care plan. One of David’s goals was to petition the court for a termination or change of guardianship. Another goal was to move back home.
Later in the year, his spouse died and no longer posed a threat to David. A neuropsychiatric evaluation determined that David was competent and no longer in need of protection, yet a judge in Huntingdon County placed David under permanent guardianship.
The Huntingdon County AAA forbid RTFCIL from communicating with David, even though RTFCIL has determined that David is eligible for services to help him live independently, services which David has requested. His guardian even instructed the staff at the nursing home to monitor David’s personal calls and confiscated his personal cell phone. Before being ‘disappeared’ David shared this poignant letter describing the despair having every facet of one’s life dictated by someone else. HERE
David was secretly moved to another location on February 20 to prevent him from having contact with RTFCIL. The Huntingdon County AAA refuses to communicate with RTFCIL on behalf of David and will not reveal his location.
David’s story reveals that our guardianship system is broken. Supported decision making is not practiced in the current system and it easy to abuse and exploit people with disabilities who are under guardianship.
Please take action today! Inform public officials that you will not not sit back and allow the state to take away David Italiano’s right to live in the least restrictive setting of his choosing. This right was guaranteed under the American Disabilities Act (ADA) according to the Supreme Court, in Olmstead v.s. LC
Please join MFI to demand the following of public officials:
- Compel Huntingdon County AAA to disclose David Italiano’s location.
- Allow David Italiano to communicate freely with whoever he chooses.
- Force nursing home staff to return David’s private phone.
- Compel agencies to use supported decision making with all of their disabled clients, including those under guardianship!
For a list of recommended actions and people you should contact see below.
Please circulate this alert to your colleagues and friends. Let us know what actions you take by cc’ing email@example.com
ACTIONS TO TAKE
Every week, we will post a new action. For today’s action, we urge you to write letters or email to the following public officials. If you choose to use email (Governor Wolf is the only official below who does not post his email address) you can combine recipients. Be sure to cc firstname.lastname@example.org or post your email/letter in comments below.
Letter templates are provided below each public official’s contact information but please note, that they should only serve as guidelines. It is better to use your own words to the greatest extent possible. Letter templates are provided in two formats to make it easier. If you can use the MS Word software, you can open and overwrite on the templates, saving only the words you want to replicate. If your browser will only open text files, you can find additional formats on the website of our partner PsychRights HERE
Contact Governor Wolf’s Office
Call Governor Wolf
Write to Governor Wolf
Use the contact form:
Send Ground Letters to Governor Wolf:
Office of the Governor
508 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
*Additional format available on the website of PsychRights HERE
Contact Rich Irvin, State Representive, District 81 (David’s Home community)
Hon. Rich Irvin
612 Pennsylvania Avenue
Huntingdon, PA 16652
Fax: (814) 644-2999
Contact Senator Casey
Chairman of Special Committee on Aging
CALL Senator Casey
Disability Policy Director
Office of Sen. Bob Casey
Write to Sen. Casey at his Philadelphia office
2000 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103