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J.D.S.' Aunt Applies For Guardianship, Sues State And Group Home Operators
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 7, 2004

ORLANDO, FLORIDA--The aunt of a woman who last year unwittingly became the center of Florida's abortion debate has applied for legal guardianship of her niece, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Dorothy Willis Quizon has filed a petition to become guardian of the 23-year-old woman known through court documents as J.D.S.. Along with the petition, Quizon filed a suit against an unnamed Department of Children & Families employee, the operator of the Orlando group home where J.D.S. spent most of her life, and the husband of the group home's operator, who has been charged with raping J.D.S.

J.D.S., who has cerebral palsy, autism and mental retardation, gave birth to a baby girl in September. Authorities had learned of her pregnancy in April, several months after she was raped in Hester Strong's group home. Police later charged Strong's husband, 75-year-old Phillip, with rape when tests matched the infant's DNA with his.

The suit accuses the DCF employee of violating J.D.S.' civil rights, Phillip Strong of battery and rape, and both Phillip and Hester Strong of negligence. Any financial damages would be placed in a "restrictive guardianship account for the sole use and benefit of J.D.S.", the paper noted.

A judge appointed a guardian to J.D.S. in June, and criticized the Florida Department of Children & Families for failing to take her through the guardianship process when she turned 18.

J.D.S.' situation became national news in June when Governor Jeb Bush attempted to have a guardian appointed for the fetus to prevent it from being aborted. His efforts were rejected by the courts because state law does not recognize a fetus as a person, regardless of the mother's disability status.

In late September, J.D.S.' birth mother came forward asking to be the guardian for her daughter and newborn grand-daughter. Known in court documents as "G.D.S.", she had reportedly abandoned her daughter nearly 20 years earlier. G.D.S. is not named in the recent petition for guardianship. No reason was given, however, the paper noted that she was recently in a drug treatment center.

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