Kelly Dillery-The dance just goes on and on

Thomas Cagle (
Mon, 14 Jun 1999 02:30:04 -0400

Dear Advocates,
For several months, many of us have followed the story of Kelly Dillery, 
a 30 year old mom in Sandusky, Ohio. Kelly was charged with the crime of 
child endangerment for riding her wheelchair in the streets of her town 
with her four year old daughter, Kelsi strapped on her lap (a practice 
not unlike that of biking parents or parents with children in 
strollers). Kelly rides in the street due to inaccessible sidewalks and 
poor sidewalk conditions on many of the sidewalks that do have curb 

After outrage being expressed from across the country and a rally held 
on her behalf, Kelly was acquitted a few months ago.

Two weeks ago, she was charged again by Sandusky police for riding in 
the (curbless, as yet unrepaired) street near her home.

On Thursday, Kelly filed a lawsuit against the city of Sandusky, 
claiming the city has violated her civil rights and is persecuting her 
for traveling the city streets in her wheelchair.

According to Mary Butler, from the LEAP Center for Independent Living 
who has been leading in the battle to help Kelly protect her rights, 
"child protective services came to Kelly's house Friday morning with a 
detective. They said they were following up on a complaint they had 
received, alleging the following:

*that the house is filthy
*that there was no food in the house
*that Kelly is drinking and on drugs
*that Kelsi has been seen abusing the household animals
*and that Kelly was putting cigarette burns on Kelsi (Or maybe she said
this the other way around; it was difficult to understand every word
was telling me because she was very upset).

The CPS worker went through everything in Kelly's home, in every room, 
in every cabinet, in every drawer, etc. The house was clean, the 
refrigerator and cabinets well stocked, there was no evidence of drug or
alcohol abuse and not even any cigarettes to be found, much less anybody 
with burns.

They told her that the case would remain open for 45 days and they could 
be back any time."

Clearly this situation has continued to grow more volitile. In a 
conversation this morning with Dr. George Kerford, executive director of 
the World Association of People with Disabilities, and an outspoken 
Dillery supporter, it was agreed that this situation has escalated to a 
dangerous level, and there is no longer any room for disability rights 
activists to stand by and watch what happens next.

To our friends in Ohio who haven't yet become intimately involved, it's 
time. Kelly and her supporters need additional help. Kelly needs people 
to be available to help keep a careful watch for additional problems. 
For those farther away, it's time to volunteer our support in any way we 
can be useful. In other landmark civil rights cases, the plaintiff was 
surrounded by support. Let's make sure Kelly get's no less. Let's make 
sure Sandusky knows the world is watching their every move.

For more information on the case, go to and put 
Dillery into the search window.

To reach LEAP CIL to offer assistance, you can email Mary Butler at 

The time for watching has ended, it's time to act!

Marcie Roth
Director of Governmental Affairs and Public Policy
TASH-Disability Advocacy Worldwide
29 W. Susquehanna Avenue
Suite 210
Baltimore, MD 21204
(410) 828-8274 X 104 (v)
(410) 828-6706 (f) (e) (w)

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