More Links in Health Programs

Judge: Daughter May Not Visit Mother

8 Apr 2007

By Tracy Breton

PROVIDENCE - In a quick about-face, a Superior Court judge has decided that former congressional candidate Suzette Gebhard will no longer be allowed to visit her 90-year-old mother, who suffers from dementia. The judge says she believes Gebhard is "a kidnapping risk."

On Thursday, Judge Alice B. Gibney rejected a request by Gebhard to take her elderly mother, who is under guardianship and in assisted-living, out for Easter dinner. But as part of a compromise, she agreed to let Gebhard have up to two unsupervised visits a week with her mother, Laurette Borduas Eifrig, at Capitol Ridge on Smith Street.

Gebhard, 60, former head of the Rhode Island League of Women Voters, is facing a criminal charge of obstructing the police, after she took her mother out of her apartment in Virginia last May and secreted her in her house in Warren for several months, defying court orders to let a court-appointed guardian and Eifrig's younger daughter, Francine Ardito, of Reston, Va., visit her.

Since her arrest in January, Gebhard had been allowed only supervised visits with her mother. Friday was the first time she went to see her alone as a result of Gibney's new order.

When she got to Capitol Ridge late in the afternoon, Gebhard went into her mother's room and closed the door for her allotted one-hour visit, according to Eifrig's court-appointed guardian, lawyer Paula M. Cuculo. When a staffer came in to tell her the visit had to end, Gebhard told her mother that she was going to get control over her and move her to Barrington to live near her, Cuculo said she was told.

Cuculo said the Capitol Ridge staffer told her that Eifrig became "agitated" and that based on what Eifrig said in the staffer's presence, "it is clear that Suzette is trying to turn the mother against me."

Cuculo said she was told by Gibney that she should instruct Capitol Ridge to turn Gebhard away if she shows up to try to visit her mother again. If Gebhard refuses to leave, Capitol Ridge has been instructed to call the police.

Copyright 2007. Used with permission from The Providence Journal.

Donate Now

Sign Up For Email

Please sign up below for important news about the work of The Carter Center and special event invitations.

Please leave this field empty
Now, we invite you to Get Involved
Back To Top