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Chapter Seventeen

When handling cases involving families and children Judge Wilford
Rawlins always preferred to meet with the parties informally in his
chambers rather than in open court. The Troulson case was no
exception, although extra chairs had to be brought in to accommodate
everyone. Not only were the parents present with their attorney
James Roberts, and Ms. Czinko of the Department of Social Services,
but also Joe Fontaine, Larry Hickman, Dr. Feldman, and attorney Jay
Victor representing Memorial Hospital. Officer Peter Shanks of the
North Bridgewater Police Dept. did not require a chair but stood by the
door since, as he put it, Fontaine, Hickman, and the Troulsons were his
prisoners and he felt more comfortable guarding them in that position.

Each individual present was allowed his or her turn to speak as the
judge listened thoughtfully. A light-skinned Afro-American whose
gray hair and deeply-furrowed face gave evidence that he himself had
seen his share of personal trials and tragedy, Rawlins looked intently
at each speaker, responding to each one's story with sympathetic
facial gestures. Without speaking a word with his lips, his
compassionate eyes and wrinkled brow seemed to say to each
speaker, "Yes, I feel your pain; yes, I understand your concern; of
course, I share your distress." Although it contrasted with the stern
body language of his large black-robed frame sitting erect in his high-
backed leather judge's chair, the empathy in his eyes enabled each
one to express himself or herself sincerely from the heart. Then,
when they had finished, Rawlins raised his right hand in a sweeping
motion that commanded silence. He spoke.

"Friends, it warms my heart to see the genuine concern that each of
you has for little Tommy Troulson." Glancing around the room, he
addressed each one in turn: "Mom and Dad, your devotion to your
child and concern for his welfare is obvious. Ms. Czinko, you truly
have the child's interests at heart also. Doctor Feldman, I can see that
Tommy is more than just another patient to you. Mr. Victor, it is clear
that Memorial Hospital has instructed you to put the child's good
ahead of its own public image. Mr. Fontaine and Mr. Hickman, I can
see that you were both willing to put yourselves at risk for the sake of
this youngster and his family." The judge thus confirmed verbally
what his facial expressions had already made known. He saw no
villains in the case.

"But this court has no alternative other than to continue in force its
earlier order, namely that Thomas Troulson receive the only medically
recognized treatment for his malady. Until such time as it is
determined by this court that such treatments are no longer
necessary, he will remain in the custody of the Department of Social

"Now Mr. and Mrs. Troulson, Mr. Hickman and Mr. Fontaine, each of
you could be found to be in contempt of court and could be jailed on
that basis alone. Morover, you could also be charged with a variety of
misdemeanor and felony counts, not only here in Massachusetts, but
also in federal court because you crossed state lines. In addition, Mr.
Fontaine and Mr. Hickman, papers have been prepared that would
require you to face charges of resisting arrest in New Hampshire.

"However, I have spoken with the various prosecutors' offices
involved and all have agreed to forego prosecution on these various
counts so long as you folks respect and abide by the rulings of this
court from this point in time onward. No useful purpose would be
served by jailing any of you -- unless, of course, there were reason to
believe that you might attempt a repetition of this escapade, but that
would be foolhardy after all that has transpired.

"I am, however, placing a restraining order on the four of you,
forbidding interference with Tommy's medical treatments. Those
treatments will begin today, and to ensure against disruption during
the administration of the first unit of blood, I am requiring that all of
you refrain from visiting the hospital today until after 6 p.m. And you
will be required to obtain permission from my office should any of
you wish to travel outside the Commonwealth of Massachusetts while
these orders are in force. Aside from that, you are all free to go, and
this hearing is adjourned."


Reporters Laphorne and Coffin were waiting unhappily outside the
judge's chambers when the doors opened and those involved in the
case began to spill out. (Phone calls from the program director at
WCAZ and the editor of The Enterprise had failed to gain admission for
the reporters.)

"Mr. Troulson, can you tell our listeners what happened in there
just now?" Sophie Laphorne asked the first one out of the room. Met
with stern silence from him, she shifted the microphone to his wife.

"Mrs. Troulson, could we have just a word from you on what took
place?" Although she looked as though she might have been about to
speak, the Troulsons' attorney James Roberts interposed himself and
spoke directly into the microphone: "The Troulsons have no
comment." With that he whisked them away, past George Coffin who
was scribbling furiously on his pad.

Seeing the signs of victory on Irena Czinko's face, reporter
Laphorne approached her next . . .


Sharing the backseat of a taxicab on the way back to their
apartment Joe Fontaine looked straight ahead without speaking while
Larry Hickman clattered away and gestured wildly in an effort to get
Joe to at least make eye contact with him. But nothing worked, and
now they were pulling up in front of the apartment building.

"Larry, its over!" Joe finally spoke, but kept looking straight ahead.
"What?" Larry laughed to cover his desperation. "Joe, you're
kidding! Right?"

"No, Larry. Its over! Its finished."

"Excuse me, fellas!" the cabdriver interrupted. "Is this the address
you wanted?"

"Yes, it is, driver. I'm sorry," Joe replied. "My companion will be
staying here, but I would like you to take me on to another address.
Would you mind waiting here a moment while we say goodbye?" Joe
began to get out.

"No problem, mister. The meter's running. That's all I care about."

"Joe!" Larry followed him behind the cab. "Don't talk like that.
You said goodbye like it was really goodbye! What are you talking
about?" Although trembling, Larry forced his usual smile, hoping it
would bring Joe's usual response. But his friend stared instead at the

"Something happened to me in that New Hampshire jail cell."
Momentarily alone together for the first time since their arrest, Joe
broke verbally the news that his demeanor had been telling Larry for
many hours. "I can't go on like we've been."

"But, Joe, we need each other. We can't make it without each

"You'll have to, Larry, because its over. I'm taking the taxi to
Kingdom Hall. Brother Brainard and brother Sturgis are going to meet
me there, and we'll be going up to Gossville in brother Brainard's car;
I'll pick up my car there, and brother Sturgis is going to drive Ralph
Troulson's car back, so Ralph can get some rest and spend time with
Tommy. When I get back, I want you either gone with all your stuff,
or I want to find all my stuff outside the door."

"Please, Joe! I can't live without you! Please!" Tears of anger
formed in the corners of Larry's eyes, and he stomped his foot to
punctuate another "Please!" His smile changed into a grimace.

"You'll just have to adjust to it," Joe answered, never once looking
in Larry's direction, "because this is what has to be done." With no
emotion apparent in his voice, he got in the last words while closing
the cab door behind him: "This is really goodbye -- forever!"

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