Fox25 in Boston continued their superb reporting on the Judge Rotenberg Center by talking to Juan Mendez, the United Nations' Special Rapporteur on Torture, about his investigation into the use of electrical shocks at the JRC:
Mendez knows well the subject of torture. He was a human rights lawyer during Argentina's dirty way, and was himself tortured with electricity.
Mendez is investigating after receiving a complaint from Disability Rights International, which examines treatment of the disabled around the world, including a 2010 report highly critical of the Judge Rotenberg Center.
"I imagine this isn't the typical type of complaint regarding torture that you receive?" FOX Undercover reporter Mike Beaudet asked Mendez.
"No it isn't," Mendez replied. "Most cases I receive are about torture in the course of interrogations, for example, or for reasons of punishment. But the definition I have to operate under is very clear: that any pain and suffering inflicted on a person with the participation or complicity of state authorities might give rise to a concern under the (United Nations) convention against torture and therefore to a concern under my mandate."
Today, Anderson features the controversy surrounding the Judge Rotenberg Center, the only facility in United States to use electrical shocks as punishment:
With video cameras a permanent fixture in everyone’s daily lives, shocking moments are frequently caught on tape and spread around the internet -- fast. Go inside a controversial school giving electric shock to their students. Meet a mother on a crusade for justice after teachers are caught on tape giving electric shocks to her son. The school defends their actions.
Many important figures associated with the JRC are interviewed by host Anderson Cooper. Cheryl McCollins sued the school on behalf of her son Andre, who was shocked there 31 times in one day. Gregory Miller was a teacher there. They are both petitioning the Massachusetts state legislature to ban the use of shocks there (Click here to sign). Attorney Michael Flammia defends the school.
Mike Beaudet, whose reporting on the story has been featured extensively here, also appears. He discussed the episode and showed clips on FOX 25.
Earlier today, I posted a story about a video of Andre McCollins being shocked that was shown yesterday as part of Cheryl McCollins' lawsuit against the Judge Rotenberg Center.
In this discussion, reporter Mike Beaudet, who has been covering the case for over a year, adds the following points:
-- The video shown in court was sealed eight years ago and the Center tried to prevent cameras from capturing it yesterday.
-- Cheryl McCollins chose the JRC in part because the cameras all over it made her feel safe after her son Andre had had problems in other facilities.
-- Dr. Matthew Israel, the Center's founder, agreed to step down to avoid prosecution on charges that he had erased other tapes
-- The video of Andre lasts for seven hours and shows him being shocked 31 times.
-- Cheryl McCollin says that staff members can be heard laughing on the video while her son is being shocked