This is what was waiting for DCF Commissioner Joette Katz when she walked out of a Yale University guest lecture last night.
Around 25 activists from the group Justice for Jane Doe held a silent picket in the hallway outside the classroom where she was giving a presentation on childcare law.
“We’re not protesting the event or her right to be here,” said Justice for Jane activist and Yale student Aria Thaker, who organized the demonstration. “We just want to be there when she leaves to show support for Jane.”
This isn’t the first time a visit to Yale has brought Katz-the center of the controversy regarding the transgender teenage girl known as Jane Doe, who is currently in solitary confinement in the male wing of a juvenile detention facility in Middletown with no criminal charges-face to face with some of the most outspoken critics of her decision to, among other things, transfer the DCF youth to a female prison in Niantic, where she spent more than 70 days in solitary confinement.
Members of the group sat in at a spring lecture Katz gave to Yale students, pointing to an affidavit that details an alleged history of sexual abuse suffered by Doe at the hands of DCF workers and those the agency entrusted with caring for her. Since then, Justice for Jane has been staging pickets outside of DCF headquarters in Hartford, as well as running call-in campaigns aimed at Governor Dan Malloy, demanding that Katz be relieved of her duties.
Katz walked past the group without saying a word. Outside, about a block from the chants of “Katz, you lied to me-prison isn’t therapy!” the commissioner would not comment, but several months ago, in front of the Justice for Jane activists and law students sitting in the classroom at Yale-as well as in a Hartford Courant Op-Ed-she said that Doe’s alleged history of assaulting DCF staff members and clients makes her “too dangerous” for a girls’ facility.
But Doe would spend a brief stint there following her transfer from Niantic before the DCF-alleged altercation between her and other residents that prompted her move to the boys’ wing of the facility.
About a month ago, Doe tried to escape from DCF custody when she was taken to a therapy session, but was found just hours later. She wants out, and according to Justice for Jane, there are people who want to take her in should she succeed in cutting ties with DCF.
IV Sta, a Justice for Jane organizer, says that they have been contacted by families looking to adopt Doe.
“There was a fair amount of interest,” Sta said a couple of weeks ago. “I was personally contacted by 10 people.”