Judge Allows Effort to Keep Children's Psychiatric Center Open to Continue

Attorney claims Cuomo has plans for West Seneca site already

Tom Puckett
October 11, 2017 - 1:47 pm

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) Judge Catherine Nugent Panepinto has ruled against a petition to block a coalition led by a local assemblyman to continue efforts to keep the Children's Psychiatric Center open in West Seneca.

"These are children, your Honor. Minors", says attorney Steve Cohen arguing against Cuomo's efforts to close the center. "We maintain that our standing is 'rock solid,'" says Cohen. He says the Coalition to Save the Children's Psychiatric Center is comprised of people of varying statuses, doctors, therapists, former patients, and Assemblyman Mickey Kearns. Cuomo contends there are no current patients in that group, giving it no standing. "That's ludicrous. You don't get an affidavit from an eight year old who's bipolar. The judge saw through that and the case moves forward," says Cohen.

Cohen says Judge Panepinto ignored the political ramifications of the matter. "This governor has a lot of people scared. There are people in the Assembly and the Senate who are frightened, who are saying they're getting pressure from the governor. We have Mickey Kearns and Pat Gallivan trying to have everyone stand fast, but the governor is making threats, saying 'you better side with me or else.' That pisses me off. I'm a registered Democrat. He's my governor, but I don't tolerate that."

Cohen suspects Cuomo already has plans in mind for the children's center in West Seneca. "The investment by the state to make the Children's Psychiatric Center move is going to increase and the argument will be look at the money we've lost," warns Cohen. He says he'd like to know what Cuomo has in mind for the site.

14,000 signatures of registered voters have been secured in support of keeping WNY Children's Psych Center open according to Kearns.

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