Civil Rights Circumcision Case
From: J. Steven Svoboda
Date: 31 Jul 2003
National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (NOCIRC)
PO Box 2512, San Anselmo, CA 94979 Fax/Phone 415-488-9883 www.nocirc.org
Embargoed For: 8/4/2003
$25 million civil rights circumcision case to protect Spanish speaking families starts trial Monday in federal court
Brooklyn, NY – Two days after he was born on August 25, 1997 at Elmurst Hospital Center in Queens, New York City, Evagelos Armatas was circumcised by a first-year medical resident who was untrained in the procedure. Hospital employees coerced “consent” from Evagelos’ mother, Rebeca Armatas. According to the complaint filed in Federal court, Elmhurst – which is owned by New York City – has a pattern and practice of inducing Spanish-speaking mothers to sign “consent” forms for circumcision when they don’t understand what they are signing and without first being informed – as is legally required – of the risks, harms and alleged benefits of male circumcision. The “consent” form signed by Rebeca Armatas was not translated into Spanish, was not properly witnessed or executed, and was not explained to Rebeca prior to securing her signature.
Infant circumcision is unheard of in both the mother’s Ecuadorian and the father’s Greek cultures. Evagelos’ circumcision has led to his estrangement from the community and family of his father.
The circumcision needlessly caused Evagelos substantial pain and suffering, has permanently scarred him, and, as an adult, he will experience the sexual dysfunction that follows all circumcisions. The procedure also caused Evagelos and his parents significant psychological harm.
The case is being heard in Brooklyn Federal Court, with Judge Bernard Friedman presiding. Damages are sought under a number of relevant laws, including the Civil Rights Act, in the amount of twenty-five million dollars, plus punitive damages and attorneys’ fees. Attorneys working on the case include Paul Garner of Brewster, New York, Charles Bonner of Sausalito, California, and J. Steven Svoboda of Attorneys for the Rights of the Child, Berkeley, California.
J. Steven Svoboda, and Attorneys for the Rights of the Child, a legal support center acting to support genital integrity and stop all forms of male and female circumcision, can be reached at 1-510-595-5550.