I have recently been informed of a situation in which a lawyer from Disability Rights Washington – Susan Kas – removed a 19 year old young woman from her family home and took her to an undisclosed ‘shelter” in another city. Disability Rights Washington (DRW) is the federally funded Protection and Advocacy Agency for our state.
Last month, Amber O’Neil, age 19, went missing from Seattle and was thought to be with a 52 year old man she met at Seattle Central College. Here is a link to the news media coverage of her missing and then of her being found in Oregon. David Posey was the man she was with and he was taken into custody in Oregon by US Marshall Service on June 20, 2018 for parole violations and remains in prison. He had previously been charged and found guilty of grand larceny, larceny of banknotes/checks (counterfeit money) and “simple assault of family members”. He also had counterfeit money on his person when he was taken into custody on June 30, 2018. Amber returned home to Seattle but continued to correspond with David Posey, claiming to be in love and wanting to marry him. Amber’s father is against this relationship and this difference of opinion has caused some turmoil in the family.
David Posey had instructed Amber to contact DRW regarding her civil rights. Amber did as she was instructed and DRW staff lawyer, Susan Kas, has personally been involved in helping Amber with her civil rights.
Susan Kas personally went to Amber’s home, served some papers to Amber’s father and together with some other staff removed Amber from her home and took her to an undisclosed “shelter”. Amber appeared in court with about 5 DRW lawyers/staff on July 9, 2018 regarding issues of guardianship. Adult Protective Services was also involved.
Disability Rights Washington cannot provide direct assistance in the following situations:
- Criminal law
- Family law
- Assistance becoming the guardian of an individual with a disability
- Out-of-state issues
- Workers compensation
- General medical malpractice & personal injury
- General consumer bankruptcy issues
- Any issue or problem not directly related to your disability
- Assistance finding employment, housing or financial assistance
- Assistance filling out forms & Social Security applications
- Anything that is not the wish of the person with the disability
From the video Disability Rights Washington – Rooted in Rights
“when we choose how we advocate, we don’t advocate for what a person may say is best for a person with a disability, we really try to focus on the expressed interest which is different than what some people might call the best interest of someone. That’s what we think everybody, regardless if you have a disability ought to be able to make important personal decisions for themselves.” (Susan Kas, Staff Attorney, Disability Rights Washington)
Issues of Guardianship – The court needs to be involved there are legitimate concerns in this issue regarding the relationship of a vulnerable adult with man almost 3 times her age who has a history of being convicted of grand larceny, counterfeiting and abuse. He was on parole but is currently incarcerated after taking Amber out of state – she was missing for about 30 days – when they were located in Portland on June 30, 2018. Common sense tells us that this relationship would be cause of concern FOR ANYONE! Having a concern about this relationship is not abuse – it is true concern for the safety, well-being and protection from exploitation of a young woman who just recently graduated from High School.
DRW sees this as a violation of Amber’s civil rights. Are they now providing her with the counseling that her father was? Are they providing Amber with honest choices and truth about the situation? Or, are they using her as a PAWN to in this horrendous situation of civil rights vs. common sense and caring? This is not a game, this is the life of a young woman who was in school and had an internship for this summer that she has now lost. She had goals of an education and a better life. What does she have now? What will she have in the future?
Disability Rights Washington is governed by a Board of Directors, with help from our Advisory Councils. These groups are made up of people with disabilities, family members, and others who have an interest in disability rights.
A substantial portion of the Disability Rights Washington budget is federally funded.