Media Denied Access to Schiavo DCF Records


ASSOCIATED PRESS | April 1, 2005

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) -- Summaries of state Department of Children & Families investigations into the treatment Terri Schiavo cannot be released to the media, a judge ruled Friday.

Ruling the day after Schiavo died, Circuit Judge George Greer denied a request from the St. Petersburg Times to obtain summaries of dozens of investigations into complaints that Schiavo was being mistreated. None of the allegations were substantiated.

The death of Schiavo, 41, ended a gut-wrenching court battle between her husband, Michael Schiavo, and parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, over whether she would have wanted to live in a persistent vegetative state.

Greer ruled the records belong to DCF, and although her husband can have access to them the records cannot be distributed publicly. The agency did not want the records released, saying it would hamper an ongoing investigation.

A separate, similar motion filed by Media General, parent company of The Tampa Tribune, is scheduled for Monday.

The repeated allegations of abuse were based partly on bone scans showing Terri Schiavo suffered fractures and statements she made to family and friends that she was unhappy in her marriage. Michael Schiavo has denied harming his wife and his lawyer said bone fractures resulted from osteoporosis caused by the woman's years of immobility and complications of her medication.

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