From the February 2005 Idaho Observer:

Electronically-linked activists shame Oregon into dropping heartless child custody case

Every now and then circumstances line up, people pull together and we defeat the system and its ill-intentions. Such an event occurred Feb. 11, 2005, in the case of Kathryn Dunn and her seven-year-old son Kristopher in Portland, Oregon.

by The Idaho Observer

Before describing the miracle that happened, The Idaho Observer wishes to state that it was an honor to have helped coordinate an effort on behalf of this embattled family. We are moved to tears by how so many people instinctively saw the truth of what was happening, understood the immediacy of the situation and unleashed a wave of love and compassion so overwhelming the stateís child protection industry and organized medicine backed away in shame. Thank you.

On January 31, 2005, Dr. Zane Gard of the Portland area of Oregon contacted The Idaho Observer with a dilemma: The Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU) was attempting to secure a court order that would terminate the parental rights of his daughter and award them to the stateís child protection industry.

The child in question is a 7-year-old boy named Kris who is autistic. The hearing wherein the fate of Kathryn Dunnís parental rights would be determined was scheduled for Feb. 11, 2005. At this time it seemed that the outcome was a foregone conclusionóthat Kris would be removed from the home of his mother for bureaucratically manufactured reasons of no substance so that OHSU could "treat" the boy for his autism with financing from private and federal research grant monies.

IO editor Don Harkins explained to Dr. Gard what could be done. Dr. Gard then had Dunnís lawyers give him a call and he described, in detail, a plan that may shame OHSU and the state into dropping the case or at least be willing to negotiate a more compassionate outcome.

"Hereís what we can do," Harkins told a very willing paralegal named Lindsey who was appalled at the stateís position in this case and its total unwillingness to negotiate a workable solution. "You write up a chronology of the case and feel free to express emotion and include the names and contact information of the players involved. When you are finished, I will review it, edit it for clarity, write a lead in and send it out to the universe through our electronic channels. Then we will see what happens."

Lindsey asked if we had done this before and what kind of success weíve experienced in the past. "Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnít," Harkins explained. "But one thing is for sure, come the 11th, Kathryn is going to lose her son to the state and there is nothing you can do to stop it, which is why we are having this conversation. If we get the intended response, they will call you up and ask if you would consider a settlement."

Lindsey wrote an excellent chronology of what was happening to the Dunns, Harkins wrote an introduction and, on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2005, the Dunn story was sent out into the universe of electronic activists.

See below for the rest of this story of activism triumphing over entrenched bureaucracy.

Activism trumps heartless bureaucracy

It has been demonstrated time and again that our best shot at reversing wrongs being committed by government employees is to catch them at the administrative levelóbefore a court order is issued. Bureaucrats are people whose goal is to punch in, take their breaks and punch out at 5 p.m. with as few complications as possible. If we can show them, with a barrage of phone calls, FAXes and emails, that we know what they are doing wrong in an instance, we can persuade them to do the right thing. After all, it is in their own self-interest. It is gratifying to be part of a campaign that succeeds. We encourage our readers to read the following and understand how love and compassion triumphed over the bureaucracy in this instanceóand then duplicate the effort in other instances.



Below is the lead-in from Don Harkins followed by the release by Lindsey).





The following is urgent and, with a little investment in time from each of you, we may be able to turn a bad thing around. There are several ultimately revealing background points to this case. One is the relationship of the Northwest Autism Foundation to the flow of money into organized allopathic autism "research." Another is the possibility that a few people working for the state of Oregon may be seeing the light in this case.

Thanks for hearing me out and, if you are moved to do so, send an email or make a phone call to the folks whose contact information is found at the bottom of this post.

A little background from my perspective

Oregon Health Sciences University has a very close relationship with the stateís child protection industry. My own investigations and first-hand knowledge of Oregonís state Offices of Services to Children and Families (SOSCF) has proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Oregon runs one of the most invasive, discompassionate and injurious child protection rackets in the country. In fact, the work we were doing while I was at The Oregon Observer from 1995-1996 was directly responsible for Oregon Child Services Division (CSD) changing its name to SOSCF in 1996 and hundreds of angry parents and grandparents burning CSD/SOSCF Director Kay Toran in effigy on the state capitol building steps in 1997.

Below is a recounting of the life of 7-year-old Kristopher Dunnóa boy born into the most nightmarish circumstances imaginable to a mother who managed to escape those circumstances with her baby, but not before he had suffered severe injuries that have resulted in chronic symptoms of autism.

With the support of her family and friends, Kathryn Dunn sought help for her son by finding what she thought was the most qualified physicians available. She is now days away from a judge deciding to let the state take Kris away from her so SOSCF can place him in foster care so he can be available for whatever treatment OHSU physicians/researchers decide is best. One can expect that OHSUís interest in gaining custody of the child is not the same as those of his mother and extended family members fighting to maintain custody.

The purpose of this missive is to let OHSU and its colleagues in SOSCF and the courts know that the fate of this medically-challenged little boy is not to be decided in courtroom with only a few people the wiser. We want them to know that the case is being monitored by a lot of concerned people all over the country. Contact information for the various players in this travesty, and a suggested line of questioning for each, is provided at the end of this post.

Keep in mind also that the case of Kristopher Dunn is not likely an isolated one. A private investigation into how OHSU is being funded to "treat" chronically ill children that it receives through court orders is being initiated. OHSU even employs social workers to scout for children it can remove from homes and have judges order them placed in that hospital.

The OHSU social worker in the Dunn case has twisted the system in an effort to undermine Kathrynís capacity as a parent as a means to have the state order that her parental rights be terminated and custody be awarded to OHSU. It has been reported that contact information for the OHSU social worker, Joan Kruse, has recently been removed from the OHSU website. The story I have received indicates this woman has stretched her boundaries to fabricate a case against Kathryn so OHSU can justify a legal argument that the state should terminate her parental rights.

It is bad enough that the state claims ownership of our children and allows us to parent their "property" on good behavior only, but for state employees to steal them through the court system for "medical research" is on of the most horrific crimes the state can commit against children and families.

We have to act fast on this one. Kathryn will be in court defending her right to care for her own child Friday, Feb. 11, 2005. As it stands now, Kathrynís attorneys have tried unsuccessfully to negotiate a better fate for Kristopher. It is OHSUís opinion that it has no need to negotiate anything because it holds all the cards. I, personally, want OHSU to know that there are factors here their bureaucratic minds have not considered.

Out of our own love for children and in defense of the right of parents and families to raise their own children each one of us is a factor that can turn the tide in this case just by making OHSU, et al, aware that good people are on the outside looking in on them.

A group close to the case is planning to mount and advertising campaign to locate other families whose children have been wrongfully removed from their families and ORDERED into state custody so OHSU can have easier access to them. The preliminary stages of this investigation indicate that the world of decent people will be shocked when the pattern of state-sanctioned abuses of children and families through OHSU is exposed.

Thank you for your time. If you have any questions, please feel free to call me.

No matter what, Don H.


OHSU threatens to take an autistic child from his mother: her crime - seeking medical treatment for her son.

Portland, Oregon, February 7, 2005

Imagine taking your child to the doctor, asking for a second opinion, and getting referred to Child Protective Service instead. This is what happened to Kathryn Dunn. Instead of getting much needed medical help for her chronically ill son, Kathryn is in the fight of her life for her child.

Kathryn Dunn has a seven-year-old child who was born with several medical issues. For the past four years she has been taking him to OHSU to meet these special medical needs because she was under the impression that this was the best medical facility in the state. OHSU has diagnosed him with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Autism Spectrum Characteristics, Mildly Mentally Retarded, Disruptive Behavior Disorder, Laryngomalacia, Behavioral Feeding Disorder, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Allergic Rhinitis, Hyperflexia, Dyspraxia, Medically Fragile, the list goes on and on.

Every time he sees a new doctor he is given a new set of diagnosis, or they just add on to his current list of diagnosis. Even the doctors he has seen cannot seem to agree on an exact diagnosis. She has done everything they advised her to do, whether she agreed with the treatment or not, ranging all the way from having a g-tube placed in his stomach to psychological treatments for him to even advocating for social security and special education with the public school system for him. She even postponed her plans to move to Eugene to marry because OHSU told her that she had to remain living in the Portland area for her sonís ongoing medical care.

In the fall of 2004 Northwest Autism Foundation (NWAF) informed her that Harvard University/Massachusetts General Hospital/LADDERS Program had developed a new protocol for testing children with autism who have gastrointestinal problems. NWAF just donated approximately one million dollars to OHSU so they could start providing the same protocol of tests on children in the northwest. NWAF told Kathryn Dunn that her son would be a perfect candidate for these tests with his frequent throwing up, diarrhea, constipation, self-limiting diet, as well as his autism spectrum characteristics, and that she should request OHSU to do these tests on her son. Taking NWAFís advice she asked OHSU if they would do the gastrointestinal testing on her son at which time they stated that they would possibly refer Kristopher to the LADDERíS program.

Traditionally, Autism and disorders on the spectrum, such as ADD and ADHD, have been viewed as psychiatric, rather than biomedical issues. Recently, however, institutions like Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital, and The University of Washington Medical Center, which are part of an organization known as the Autism Treatment Network (ATN), have found many of the children suffering from autistic spectrum disorders, suffer from inflamed bowels, and immune response disorders, and have been treating them, often with surprising results.

Finding these conditions is often the first step towards recovery. Many autistic children show dramatic improvement after being treated for disorders of the stomach and intestines. Because the cause of the autistic enterocolitis is controversial - some studies suggest it is related to mercury and measles from childhood vaccination - the medical profession itself is divided over how to treat this condition.

In June of last year, ATN sponsored a conference announcing that OHSU would be joining the ATN team, including Harvard, Massachusetts General. Believing her son Kris qualified for this investigation, Kathryn asked for a procedure called endoscopy, to scope her sonís intestine to determine whether Kris was suffering from these problems. Dr. Timothy Buie, of Harvard University, has been instrumental in implementing this procedure and has identified a distinct condition called Autistic Enterocolitis, a severe inflammation of the bowel, which appears in the intestines of many autistic children.

On November 17, 2004 when Kathryn took her son in for a routine check up. One of OHSUís social workers attempted to trick/coerce her into signing over custody of her son to Childrenís Protective Services (DHS) claiming it would be a great way to force the state of Oregon to pay for counseling". When Kathryn refused to do it she informed her that OHSU filed child abuse charges against her claiming she had Munchausen syndrome by proxy because Kathryn was trying to make them do Gastro-Intestinal testing on her son when there was nothing wrong with him.

Munchausen syndrome by proxy is a controversial disorder, lately in vogue, in which a mother will actually cause or keep a child sick, in order to receive attention for herself. It is the worst accusation that can be made, short of murder, about a motherís relationship to her child.

This social worker also threatened Kathryn in front of a witness, that if she tried to fight "them" on this that it would get really "ugly" and DHS would take her child away. At that time Ruth Patterson from DHS entered the room and informed Kathryn that the State of Oregon had taken custody of her son, but they were allowing Kris to reside in her home, for now.

On November 18, 2004, it was brought out during the temporary custody trial that NW Autism had offered to cover all expenses to send Kathrynís son back to Harvard to have the gastrointestinal testing and evaluation performed. Ruth Patterson flatly refused to allow Kristopher Dunn to undergo any further testing stating it was pure child abuse. Then on December 8, 2004, DHS had Kristopher Dunn tested alone with the therapist for an hour and 45 minutes. Why is it abuse for the mother to have her child tested, but not for DHS to have the child tested?

On December 8, 2004 Kathryn Dunn was tested and found not to have Munchausen syndrome by proxy by a psychologist chosen by DHS, but instead of returning medical custody of Kristopher Dunn to his mother, DHS tried to get Kathryn to plead no contest to at least one of their charges because they wanted to stay involved in her life. When she refused to do that they dropped the Munchausen syndrome by proxy charges and have now charged her with failure to obtain proper medical treatment and failure to provide proper education for her son, as well as failure to admit that she has an undiagnosed mental problem, and no legal father.

DHS claims they will have to charge her with something because OHSU will not let them drop the charges against her.

This whole situation is very confusing. How can Kathryn Dunn be originally charged with trying to get too much medical attention and too many educational rights for her child to now being charged with not getting enough medical or education for him? If she has been following the medical treatment that OHSU has been recommending and administering on her son for the past four years and because of their treatment sheís been charged with child abuse, why hasnít OHSU been charged with the same?

January 5, 2005 there was a status conference in court on this case. Kathryn Dunnís attorney, George Mead, and Sonya Heinsch case manager with DHS both requested a postponement of the trial date to have a round table discussion with OHSU and other experts to try to come to a resolution without going to court. This meeting never occurred.

On January 28, 2005, George Mead tried to mediate the case with Sonya Heinsch. She would not agree with their requests stating DHS had to remain in control of the case, that Kathryn had to be under supervised long term psychiatric care, and that Kathryn would need to sign that she agreed with one of their charges against her.

At this point DHS and OHSU have had all their accusations disproved, yet they still insist on pursuing the case by making up new charges. Kathryn Dunn takes these charges very personally. What could be more personal than someone trying to take your child from you?

It is hard enough trying to raise a child with special needs, but itís even more difficult when you are being harassed by someone in the system. She feels that this is a form of pure harassment, and wants to know what someone in her position can do when facing such a devious, inconsistent and unfounded attacks by someone empowered to take their child?

No parent should have to fear seeking appropriate medical treatment for his or her child. (END)

Decency prevails

Thank you to everyone that responded to Kathryn Dunnís plea for help. The phone calls, faxes and emails truly made a HUGE difference in this case. The below update was sent to us by Dr. Zane Gard, Kathrynís father, to forward to all of you:

Update On Activist Response Request on

OHSU threatens to take Autistic Child from his mother

Friday, February 11, 2005 ó 2:45 p.m.

To:  Everybody

Since the last update many things have happened. Due to the tremendous response from people all over the country coupled with several other factors itemized below, this case was dismissed by the court this morning. 


Reasons for our successful outcome plus other items of interest:

1.   The very persistent and due diligence by Kathryn Dunnís attorney George Mead.

2.   The due diligence and persistent assistance by Don Harkins and Ingri Cassel of The Idaho Observer in releasing this news and appropriate activistic response.  OHSU had been successful in preventing a press release in the local newspapers about these charges. However, after The Idaho Observerís release of this information, OHSU released a press release on Autism which recommended the type of evaluation that they refused to do in Dunnís case that led to the charges against Kathryn Dunn for requesting this evaluation as per the recommendation of the Northwest Autism Foundation.

3.   The press release we sent out Wednesday morning the 9th of February was too much for OHSU and they in return pressured DHS for closure which they were only too happy to agree to. The listing of all of the names concerned with this case brought a tremendous number of calls and e-mails to various involved staff of OHSU including Dr. Rogers.

4.   Sen. Ron Wydenís office was contacted two weeks ago and informed Kathryn Dunn that they did not handle these situations.

5.   On February 7, Senator Bruce Starrís office was called and Kathy Starr stated that they were very interested in getting involved with this type of case. Kathy Starr called back and obtained all the names and phone numbers for George Mead, Sonya Heinschk, Jan Kruse, the district attorney, Krisís attorney and the judge. She said she would contact the head of DHS on February 8, which she did.  She also contacted the governorís office.

6.   Governor Kulongoskiís childrenís advocate, Michelle, was contacted several weeks ago and finally returned the call on February 7. She stated that they cannot overturn any of the courtís or DHSí decisions, on any case. On February 9, Naomi Steenson, the Administrator for the Governorís Advocate, called to see if there was anything that she could do to help. She said that Senator Bruce Starr had called the Governor about the problems and wanted to help straighten them out. She told Kathryn that she was to call if the mediation with DHS fell through as it had in the past and they would get involved.


Thank you

The event closed by thanking everyone for helping the bureaucracy make the right decision.

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