Chicago lawyer helps NY mother fighting case with gay son
Attorney, playwright, and human rights advocate Jay Paul Deratany and his Chicago Law firm lend a helping hand to Rhonda Mangus and her son, Michael, after a grueling legal battle in New York State.
CHICAGO, IL / NEW YORK, NY, February 02, 2010 /LGBT News - 24-7PressRelease/ Rhonda Mangus, and her 18 year old son, Michael, feel they are fighting the good fight, and have been for almost 5 years. Since 2005, mother and son have been part of an ongoing conflict with the Niagara County Department of Social Services and the New York State Office of Child and Family Services.
Mangus took the then 13 year old Michael out of North Tonawanda High School, after the gay teen had been subjected to bullying and an 'expletive laden' death threat. Mangus was then placed on the New York Child Abuse Registry, after a second report of 'educational neglect' was made against her.
Mangus failed to get that ruling amended before the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, although her son had been excused from compulsory attendance by two medical professionals.
Aaron McQuade, of New York's Sirius OutQ radio, aired an interview with Mangus about her battle on January 18.
Now, she is seeking to try for justice once more. And her battle has just received a tremendous boost: It has been made easier by high-profile cause attorney, Jay Paul Deratany, of Chicago Illinois.
Deratany and his associate Nathan Polum, have helped Mangus to file a postponement for an appeal, and are continuing to advise her on a pro bono basis.
"I'm just grateful and thrilled," said Mangus from her North Tonawanda home. "I had read about Mr. Deratany, the work he has done, his philanthropy and advocacy, and even his writing a human rights play for the Chicago stage, "Haram Iran". I thought about contacting him, but I never dreamed I could be helped by someone of his stature, and I am just so thankful. And Nathan Polum has been so generous and has given of his expertise. I'm thrilled."
In 2008, Deratany acted as playwright, creating for the Chicago stage the play, "Haram Iran", depicting the true story of two young homosexual males hung for their "crime" in Iran. The play was lauded by the Human Rights Campaign and praised by Chicago art critics and gay advocacy groups. In the same year, Deratany ran for Cook County commissioner, but lost the seat to the incumbent Republican in a narrow margin.
Deratany is the attorney representing the Duckett family in the pending case against CNN's Nancy Grace.
Despite his grueling schedule, the 43 year old personal injury attorney, specializing in the rights of injured children, has taken it upon himself to advise Mangus, even refusing donations from a New York PR firm for his efforts. A representative of Gnosis Arts, Multimedia has this to say about Deratany: "He is a cause lawyer, and this is one more proof of his dedication. He is the kind of attorney who gives honor to the profession," said Ros Newell, a Massachusetts gay advocate who has read of the case.
Mangus is considering additional law suits against Niagara County and is also looking for local representation in New York. As a mother who tried her best to defend her child, her humiliation has been devastating. But it seems like good fortune may be appearing on her horizon now and, due in no small part, to JP Deratany.
The Jay Paul Deratany firm is located at 221 North LaSalle St, Suite 2200, Chicago, IL 60601
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