Court Silences Woman Who Spoke Out About Grandchild’s Abuse in Philadelphia Foster Care

November 28, 2018

The Legal Intelligencer
By P.J. D'Annunzio

Virginia McKale, who was featured in an October Legal Intelligencer article about systemic problems in Philadelphia’s child welfare system in which she said her grandson had been sexually abused while in a foster home, has been ordered to cease speaking publicly about the matter.


Jeremy Mishkin, a First Amendment lawyer at Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads in Philadelphia, said the matter lies in a legal gray area.

“There is a First Amendment issue in play when there are requests for or entries of gag orders. The judge’s job is to balance those interests appropriately,” Mishkin said. “Although the First Amendment is wonderful for zealous advocates for free speech …  the judicial system is appropriately protective of minors. There are legitimate considerations for requiring the parties to refrain from public comment.”

He added, “It’s not the freedom of the press to report, it’s the freedom of the individual to speak that’s at issue.”


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