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Amber James was taken away from her parents, Vanessa and Marvin James, in August after the child's pediatrician, Dr. Julia Garber, diagnosed Vanessa James with Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy Ð a disorder where the sufferer feigns or forces illness in someone under their care to get attention or sympathy from doctors.The disorder is considered to be a form of child abuse.But Vanessa James denied that she has the illness and contends that her daughter was taken away because she "cared too much" for her by taking her to doctors, which she said she did due to real medical concerns.Marvin James became outraged when a lawyer for the Administration of Children's Services said he "refused to attend a psychiatric appointment" in November to be evaluated, saying he had undergone an evaluation previously but the psychiatrist he spoke to was fired and the session was not honored by Judge Marybeth Rothroath."We are tired of being forced to do things," Marvin James said. "We did (the evaluations) and y'all still playing games."Shouting at Rothtroath, he said, "you slant the whole family by calling us perverts," referring to allegations of sexual abuse by the Jameses against Amber.At the start of the hearing, Rothroath said she did not believe those allegations or similar complaints of sexual abuse against Amber by her current foster family. "We don't respect your decisions," Marvin James told the judge before screaming about the ACS caseworkers assigned to his daughter."They falsify information and they lie," he said. "They took my daughter away illegally. You hurt my daughter."Also during the hearing, Rothroath denied the Jameses' request to have regular supervised visits with Amber. They currently see their daughter with a therapist in the room."Give our child back. You're not doing us no favors," Marvin James said before being ordered to leave the courtroom. "I don't care if you give us extra visits or not. Give our child back."The tension continued when ACS lawyers said permission was needed by the Jameses to let Amber be hospitalized for 48 hours because the girl had been having sleep seizures.One of the Jameses attorneys asked the judge "how much is the court going to hear?" before Amber's parents gain back custody, suggesting that the recently revealed medical issue showed that the girl did have actual health problems.Rothroath said she "took offense" at that question while Vanessa James shouted back, "I do take offense that (ACS is) abusing my child."Vanessa James was then told to leave the courtroom."I can't believe this is happening," she said following the hearing. "They're destroying my little girl. They're destroying her mind and her body. They're tearing her down. We have to stop it."Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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