Kentucky's Attorney General's office publishes photos of Elder Abuse Indictees, and it publishes Elder Abuse convictions.
We believe that under Kentucky Law, Ethan would be liable for dozens, if not hundreds of criminal charges. Likewise, Dolores' GP, her solicitor, her children, healthcare providers in the HSE, the Gardai and any one else who knew of the abuse and remained silent would be liable for criminal and civil action.
Ireland was safe for those who let Dolores' torment continue. It remains a safe haven for witnesses to Child Abuse and Elder Abuse who choose to say nothing. ]
By late January 2010, Saoirse's efforts to help Dolores by enlisting help from others was, for the most part, met with a granite wall of apathy:
- The Gardai in Rosslare, Wexford and Bray all refused to help, contrary to the “official” Gardai Domestic Violence Policies.
- Dolores' GP, Dr Melissa Dudley remained silent and unresponsive to Saoirse's attempts to contact her.
- Dolores' priest was a dead end.
- Dolores' solicitor was not interested. In hindsight, Damian Brass' actions actually reinforced Dolores' isolation, and made it easier for Dolores' abuser (and Damian Brass' client) Ethan Maxwell to consolidate his control over Dolores' life.
- Saoirse's brother Alex had withdrawn from the situation, and was no longer even trying to contact Dolores. Saoirse's requests to him to contact Geoffrey Blair or to at least provide her documentation about Ethan's pointed attacks on him spanning years were fruitless.
- Saoirse's sister Sophie, after her attempts to Sort Ethan Out had withdrawn. Although witness to the abuse Ethan perpetrated on Cecil and Dolores (and on herself), Sophie chose to not contact Geoffrey Blair.
- Saoirse's brother Conor was (and is) in possession of (according to him and others) documentation concerning Ethan's threats, attacks, and extortion attempts. To this date they have not seen the light of day, with one exception. Conor also did not contact Geoffrey Blair during this time.
- Saoirse's brother Nathaniel, who had personal knowledge of the duress and abuse Ethan laid on his parents, also did not contact Geoffrey Blair during this time.
- Saoirse's sister Emily was unwilling or unable to look at what was happening. She also did not contact Geoffrey Blair
- Saoirse's brother Sean provided very useful information. Although he had firsthand knowledge of the situation, he also chose not to contact Geoffrey Blair at this time.
- Saoirse's brother Ronan was now becoming more and more isolated. Saoirse considered him to be in danger from Ethan, and viewed him as needing help rather than a source of help.
- Saoirse's brother Kyle had left Ireland while still a minor over twenty years previously, and had yet to return. His knowledge of the situation at this time was not firsthand.
- Saoirse's multiple requests to both Damian Brass and Geoffrey Blair to have a family meeting were met with silence.
The refusal of her brothers and sisters to corroborate Ethan's abuse not only disappointed, discouraged and hurt Saoirse. It absolutely mystified her. It seemed so simple. Just tell the man what you know. Get help for Mom, and give her the power to live her life free of pain, suffering, and humiliation. The failure of Dolores' children to even make a call or click a button to send an email at this time on behalf of their Mother's health and safety has never been explained.
During this time, as in the past, the Public Health Nurses were having a hard time reaching Dolores. Notes from Public Health Nurse Gwen Porter:
Friday, 22 January 2010: “Home visit ineffective. Card left. Dolores in Day Centre today.”
Monday, 25 January 2010: “I phoned Day Centre this AM. Dolores had just called to cancell today in Tagoat Day Centre. I called at 14:00, no reply from door or phones.
17:50 son Ethan returned call and informed me that his mom was staying with him for weekend and that he put his mom on the train to Rosslare.”
It must be noted that contrary to what the Day Centre told PHN Porter, it was actually Ethan who had cancelled her visit, not Dolores. PHN Porter tried to visit Dolores at her house at 2:00pm. She then tried Dolores' phones. At 5:50pm, Ethan returns the call, not Dolores. At no time during this is Dolores spoken to by either the Day Centre or PHN Portman.
[Editor's note: We believe there is a very, very compelling possibility that Dolores was not in possession of her mobile(s) at this point, or at least not the one that the HSE would call. This is of course consistent with Ethan's behaviour shown during the failed Christmas Meeting, when Dolores was unreachable and calls to her phone went unanswered or were answered by others.
We are unsure if PHN Porter's call to the Day Centre on Monday had been preceded by attempts to call Dolores. If so, Ethan would have been alerted to the fact, and could have called the Day Centre just prior to the PHN's call to Tagoat.
By Sophie's account, Dolores now had as many as three mobiles. It is believed that Ethan kept her “public” one; we believe that at least one of the others was used by him to be in almost constant contact with Dolores. More evidence of this in later pages… ]
PHN Gwen Porter is no fool. She wrote about Ethan in some length in her report of 27 January 2010, following a very volatile phone conversation initiated by Ethan. Among many disturbing things in this phone call, Ethan informed PHN Porter that he was in charge of all decisions concerning Dolores' care, medical and otherwise, and claimed that he had Power of Attorney. And if he wasn't available, all decisions about Dolores' care were to be referred to Lloyd Montgomery, even though five of Dolores' other children and her brother were resident in Ireland. Ethan went on to identify Lloyd Montgomery as “family spokesperson.” Ethan was very angry that PHN Porter had called him and wanted to know how she got his number.
On foot of this call and the other things she had observed in January, PHN Gwen Porter made a formal Referral of Suspected Elder Abuse to Geoffrey Blair.
She followed with a visit to Dolores' house on Friday, 29 January 2010:
Friday, 29 January 2010: “No reply. Card left. Phone line not working."
Recall PHN Helen Jackman's report from 10 July 2009: “Landline not in use. Disconnected. Issues regarding giving out mobile number.”
Of course, at this time, Saoirse was unaware of these events. Nonetheless, when Sophie sent her a text out of the blue on 31 January, two days after Ethan's blow–up with PHN Porter, Saoirse was very suspicious. Sophie's text:
PHN Helen Jackman was able to visit Dolores at home on 4 February, 2010:
Thursday, 04 February 2010: “Home visit. Dolores is in good form today. Had a cold and didn't go to Day Centre yesterday, but usually attends two days a week. Very upset about recent visits and does not want to discuss it and does not wish to have the social worker call again. Advised Dolores that she is more than welcome to contact the social worker or the PHN at any time if she wishes to discuss any worries or concerns. Very happy with Home Care Assistant hours. Informed Geoffrey Blair of my call this afternoon. Geoffrey Blair at present to respect Mrs. Maxwell's wishes and review care at a later stage.”
We don't know what time PHN Jackman visited Dolores, but Saoirse was trying to reach her that same day. As seen in this excerpt from the email to Geoffrey Blair of 07 February, she wrote:
Given what we know now of Ethan's abuse of her, it is painful to imagine the ways Ethan would have exerted this pressure on Dolores to submit to the isolation from family, friends and health professionals that was so important for him to continue.
Dolores' statement that “It's survival” gives some perspective to the situation.
Although PHN Porter reported that Dolores was “Very upset about recent visits and does not want to discuss it and does not wish to have the social worker call again,” we must note that the only visit to Dolores made by a “social worker” was by Geoffrey Blair on 17 December 2009. She had not been visited by either PHNs since the previous October. Dolores' Home Care Assistant, Vivian Chase of course regularly came by to help Dolores.
These four were the only HSE health professionals to ever visit Dolores, both according to all of our documentation, and the HSE. After this visit by the PHN on 04 February, no other visits occurred (other than by HCA Chase) until April, when PHN Helen Jackman visited Dolores.
Even without the knowledge of the Public Health Nurses' reports and surrounding events, Saoirse considered Elder Abuse Senior Caseworker Geoffrey Blair's response to Dolores' plight underwhelming, to say the least. Saoirse identified the lack of corroboration as the bottleneck, giving Geoffrey Blair room to take a wait and see stance. For whatever reason, Geoffrey Blair was not himself seeking any corroboration from any other source, other than within the HSE itself. He did not contact Dolores' children or the family doctor in Dublin who was aware of the abuse. He did not contact Dolores' neighbours.
Saoirse's protests that the letters from “Dolores” to the HSE were written by Ethan had no effect. We have seen earlier that Geoffrey Blair took no action to verify any of the documentation he received from “Dolores”. As far as can be determined, the sum total of his “investigation” consisted of receiving reports from the Public Health Nurses.
[Editor's note: We saw some of those earlier disturbing reports in Geoffrey Blair Returns. They describe classic Elder Abuse behaviour and scenarios. Why they did not generate further action by Geoffrey Blair has never been explained. Why PHN Porter's reports and Referral of Suspected Elder Abuse in January did not generate further action by Geoffrey Blair is unconscionable, in our view.
Although members of Dolores-Maxwell.com have since Dolores' death been given sight of some of the underlying thought processes Geoffrey Blair and the HSE employed to justify their lack of action to protect Dolores, we find them extremely contradictory to previous statements they made and frankly ridiculous. (This information comes from the Office of the Ombudsman's investigation into the HSE's response to Dolores' abuse from Ethan. The investigation by the Ombudsman was initiated through Saoirse's efforts. We look forward to visiting this in depth in the yet to be published Aftermath section of this website.) ]
Hurt and discouraged, yes. Willing to give up and let her Mother continue to be abused, never. Saoirse cast a wider net, looking for anyone willing to help, any information that would give a more complete picture, and any corroboration of the abuse of her Mother by Ethan she could find. If she could just find more evidence, just find a witness to Ethan's abuse who would speak up, surely Elder Abuse would act to protect Dolores. It seemed a reasonable course of action at the time. In hindsight, it was a naive and dangerous assumption to think that anything would have the effect of motivating Geoffrey Blair and Elder Abuse Services to take action to save Dolores.
[Editor's note: We believe the truth of our last statement will be shown clearly and undeniably as the narrative of Dolores' Last Year and the Aftermath are published. We will see a pattern develop. The more evidence obtained, the more that corroboration from witnesses was provided, the more Saoirse pleaded with Elder Abuse, the more they withdrew from the situation. The pattern culminates in the astounding Form 6 (Follow-up on Record of Initial Referral) filled out by Geoffrey Blair ten months after Dolores died. ]
Saoirse reached out to extended family members, and grabbed the phone book and started calling people listed under “Maxwell,” There are a lot of Maxwells in the phone book. Saoirse discovered an obscure reference to a solicitor whose clients in the past had dealings with Ethan, and contacted him. Through her contacts developed as a journalist she tapped information about the Gardai's involvement with Ethan in Dublin. Saoirse's wide net was effective.
Dolores was unreachable at this time. Saoirse reached out to her brothers several times to try to find out if any of them could reach Dolores. Alex confirmed that he was no longer trying to contact his Mother. Nathaniel reported that he was unable to reach her. No one else replied, and it is unknown if any of the Maxwell children were keeping records of their attempts to contact Dolores. Saoirse continued to document her attempts and update Geoffrey Blair, as in this email sent on 2 February 2010:
Did receive copy of letters. At least Ethan is consistent in his bullying. Will call you Thursday to touch base and update.
Mom's solicitor has fallen by the wayside. I think he likely received some strange correspondence based on the change in tone of it. He seems to have backtracked and now believes it's just ‘friction’ among family members. I really wish it were so because it would be far simpler.
Have daily four hour commute so am trying to do this on the side as well. It means I'm gone early and home late and hard to talk in office privately. It's open office plan.
Will be back with you on Thursday.
Have you heard from Alex? Sean? Nathaniel? or even Conor?
By the first week of February, Saoirse had made contact with a third party who had witnessed Ethan's abuse of Dolores. And through a relative (found through plodding through the Maxwells in the phone book) she was provided computer files which contained a wealth of information regarding Ethan's attempt to gain control of the life and assets of Cecil's brother Patrick Maxwell in 2005 and 2006. These files were from a computer Ethan used after taking up residence in Patrick's house, even before Patrick was admitted to the hospital in November, 2005.
Saoirse wrote to Geoffrey Blair with some of what she had found. Here at last was some corroboration, and from a non-family member! And it was from a few years earlier, showing the long term pattern. Surely now the Elder Abuse Senior Caseworker would act to protect this tiny old lady! Some excerpts from that letter:
The following are my calling attempts to Mom since Thursday Feb. 4.
Just for your information, since we last spoke I've learned that Ethan's Finglas neighbours were witnesses to:
Mom and Dad being quickly hurried into Ethan's home whenever they visited his Finglas home. Pushed would be an apt description.
Mom being sent away from the front yard, whenever the neighbours would try to chat with her, indoors to prepare tea.
Being loud, verbally abusive to both my parents on many occasions and using very vulgar language. Also verbal abuse and screaming at Lloyd Montgomery who had to ask Ethan for permission to have a drink. I've heard siblings also mention Lloyd having to ask Ethan's permission to do a variety of things. On one occasion, neighbours also witnessed Ethan yelling and screaming at Lloyd about Lloyd's bank account, and money not being in it.
Ethan also attempted to harass and intimidate his neighbours.
Frequent complaints from Ethan to the Gardai about the same neighbours, alleging they were dumping rubbish into his garden and more.
The neighbour's solicitor is willing to update on what occurred as his clients attempted to do work on their house. Among the paperwork on file with An Board Pleanala are several references to 'incorrect and misleading information' being provided to the City Council by the appellant, Ethan Maxwell.
The filed paperwork also notes a solictor's letter sent to the neighbours from a firm that didn't exist.
The Gardai visited and cautioned Ethan after he entered the neighbours' property and ripped away their TV cable.
These neighbours are understandably still traumatized from Ethan's treatment of them and are very, very wary here. Contact is through their solicitors but they are willing to help with regards to Mom's safety. I would like to ensure they remain buffered from Ethan intimidation and bullying tactics so will maintain contact with them through their solicitor.
Lloyd Montgomery, the so-called family spokesperson is now the owner of Ethan's last house in Finglas. The registration for Ethan's current house in Bray is strangely listed as Alias O'Meiscill (the Irish version of Ethan, I believe. I don't believe any family members are aware of his name change). He also has never used an Irish version before, to my understanding, and I believe it's to cover something up.
Log of attempted calls to to my Mom Feb. 4 – Feb. 7, 2010
Tried calling Mom's landline. No answer today (Feb. 4) Thursday at 11.22 am. Then tried MOB, no answer at 11:22.58 am.
Tried Ronan's MOB.11:24 am. No answer and goes into a hang up.
Tried Mom's landline 2:50 pm. No answer. Also tried mom's MOB and no answer there today – Thursday, February 04, 2010.
7:53 pm. Mom's landline is busy. Will try again shortly.
8:10 pm. No answer on landline and MOB now busy.
Sunday Feb. 7, 2010
3:40 pm. No answer from landline. Shortly thereafter rang Mom's mobile and it's busy.
4:30 pm. No answer from landline. No answer from Mom's MOB. Tried Ronan's mobile but no answer and then it broke off in the middle of ringing into a busy signal.
We cannot say what effect this information had on Geoffrey Blair's view of the danger Dolores was in. We do know that he did not contact Lloyd Montgomery, Ethan's neighbours, or their solicitor. We note that Ethan's neighbours had a lot more to say about Ethan's abuse of Cecil, Dolores, Lloyd and a woman that Ethan had some relationship with for a few months during this time. We do not know why Geoffrey Blair was so reluctant to act to corroborate or investigate.
His response to Saoirse's email Geoffrey does lay out some of the constraints he was under regarding contacting Dolores himself. On 08 February he was referring to PHN Jackman's visit above when he wrote:
Helen Jackman, Public Health Nurse in your mom's area, visited your mom a few days ago. They had a long conversation. Your mother told her that she was worried/stressed over the rows in the family but said that otherwise she was fine and happy; she doesn't want any interference. She didn't make any allegations.
She doesn't say much to the Home Carer and never said anything about Ethan that was alarming.
I would still like to eventually meet her but now that she expressed her wishes directly to community care staff I have to be more careful on how I progress from here.
I will let you know once I made up my mind.
Ethan's former neighbours from Finglas were the very first to stand up when asked for help. We have assigned them the appropriate pseudonyms of Deanna & Mark Braveheart. Contacted through their solicitor initially, and then directly, they were very helpful in bringing to light many instances of Ethan's behaviour. In a letter sent to them and their solicitor on 25 February, Saoirse's gratitude is evident:
Please find attached a letter I'm sending to yourselves and The Bravehearts today, and following my letter to your firm of Jan. 23, 2010.
Many, many thanks to you and everyone for your kindness. Words would never adequately express my appreciation and thanks. But thank you just the same.
[Editor's note: The next page of A Winter's Tale will take a look at events to the end of February 2010, including, among other things, more information about the Elder Abuse response. Elder Abuse Retreats
As always, we seek and encourage anyone with knowledge of Dolores' life and/or the events presented here to contribute to this site. Memories, anecdotes, photos and documents are more than welcome. Clarification, correction and alternative views are encouraged and welcomed. Submissions ]