Laurene Transue thought the teenagers were kidding.
15-year-old daughter, Hillary, had been charged with harassment for creating a fake MySpace page that mocked an assistant principal at her school.
“When Hillary was getting ready to go to court, other kids were teasing her, ‘You’re going to get sent away to Camp Adams,’ ” Transue said. “I said, ‘Don’t be ridiculous.’ That is absolutely the last resort. You were never in trouble before. You didn’t do anything harmful. I thought they were teasing her.”
She couldn’t have been more wrong.
On April 17, 2007 Hillary appeared before Luzerne County Juvenile Court Judge Mark Ciavarella. Following a hearing that lasted less than three minutes, she was shackled and led out of the courtroom to await transport to Camp Adams, a residential juvenile treatment facility near Jim Thorpe.
It took a month, but Laurene Transue won her daughter’s release based on the fact she had not been afforded her constitutional rights in the hearing before Ciavarella.
The story could very well have ended there for the Transues. Hillary was safe at home.
“We felt so betrayed by authority and our own government and justice system,” Laurene Transue, 47, said in an interview Friday from her White Haven home. “I knew something was terribly wrong. My motive was to get justice for my daughter. But when we found out how many other children and families were going through what we went through, we felt we had to do something.”
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Bringing Justice to Them All