My reply to the State:
Here is my promised full, formal reply. I again thank you and the State of Colorado for seeing to it a full investigation of these very serious allegations, both those made by myself and those made by Mr. Dan Shearer on the tape are investigated.
I am gladdened to see that you will be forming a committee to investigate all of those implicated by the wire recording. As you are aware, that includes Mr. Shearer, himself, as well as his FACT Team at Boulder County Mental Health Center, Inc., as well as personnel from the Boulder County Department of Social Services and the City of Broomfield. It is critical to ensure that all of the misconduct and potential misconduct referred to by Mr. Shearer receives full investigation.
As that was my primary unresolved issue, I have concluded my Hunger Strike, and will not be involving myself in the election with respect to these issues. (I may participate in the public conversation regarding unrelated issues, such as HB1253 and recent policy initiatives not directly related to this investigation, but I do not see those issues impacting the Executive in any way.)
You have admitted that my evidence appears to show that Mr. Shearer coerced a plea against me in court, violating the constitution and applicable case and statutory law. I therefore remind you that, given that showing, I am owed an adequate remedy for my own case, which has not yet taken place. A prima facie showing of plea coercion is itself sufficient to warrant an evidentiary hearing, and I am gladdened to see that an administrative mechanism similar to one will be undertaken. I expect, that whatever Executive or Judicial remedy is available will be undertaken as a result of that committee's report in my own case, assuming the prima facie showing holds up under scrutiny.
I ask the committee to look to three issues of fact in its review. First, I ask you to seek the direct misconduct alleged by Mr. Shearer on the tape, and as you have promised, to ascertain the extent of the misconduct beyond Mr. Shearer himself per his allegations. Second, I ask you to ensure, should Mr. Shearer's claims to have simply been following orders prove true, that the situations of other clients of the Mental Health Center and its FACT Team who are similarly situated but were served by other personnel than Mr. Shearer are included in your investigation. Third, whether or not Mr. Shearer's allegations are substantiated, I ask you to look to the policies in place that allowed Mr. Shearer to do what he did and to escape detection for doing so for so long.
Misconduct should be administratively and, where possible, criminally prosecuted. Policy should ensure that similar things cannot happen in the future. Both of these are in the State's own interests and both should be covered by the investigation.
Should the misconduct be limited to Mr. Shearer, his clients are all similarly situated to me. Should the misconduct be broader than merely his, all of the mental health center's clients are similarly situated. Naturally, for all of the cases where misconduct is found, which involve a court disposition of any kind, there must be an adequate remedy. This includes cases where a deferred judgement or deferred adjudication was undertaken on the basis of a coerced or otherwise unlawful plea.
As a result, I am gladdened to see that your investigation will extend to other similarly situated persons.
I do, however, ask you to reach out to and accept testimony from all similarly situated persons, as it appears from my wire recording that a mere paper review of the records will not prove sufficient to locate all instances of misconduct. Many of Mr. Shearer's clients may have believed that he acted within his lawful power, and not have filed complaints as a result. The same would be true of anyone affected by broader misconduct.
As such, it is imperative that you reach out to all potentially affected and potentially similarly situated persons, and not make a determination on their situations through a mere paper review. I know that will take work and be time consuming, but it is unavoidable. I am not the only person affected who should have the opportunity to testify.
I am satisfied to give the State of Colorado the time it requires to conduct a full investigation and to make informed decisions regarding remedial actions, including for my own case. This does, however, imply significant trust, for if executive remedy is the only option available to me, I have yielded my ability to force it upon the chief executive in favor of the executive's ability to be sure it is appropriate through a fair investigation. I am therefore trusting that absolute discretion will not overcome the results of the investigation. That is, perhaps, the single greatest trust I can show you, and I would hope that the executive recalls that I allowed it to satisfy itself when the time comes to deliver on remedies.
My community has raised two points of concern I ask you to address. The first is expressed in terms of accountability and transparency. We are heartened the State is taking this measure, but we wish to ensure the investigation does not attempt to whitewash any misconduct for purposes of politics or convenience. I fully expect the investigation to take longer than the pre-election window, so hopefully politics should not interfere with it. However, often still there is a desire to overlook misconduct due to its practical inconvenience for administrators.
I trust that issue is largely behind us, as this investigation shows the executive has already borne the inconvenience issue. However, the best way to ensure accountability is transparency.
I therefore ask you to make materials on the committee's makeup, calendar, activities, and ultimate findings available to the public and the press. I understand there are limitations to how much you can make public, as these cases involve two forms of confidentiality: juvenile justice and mental health treatment. However, making as much public as possible without compromising anyone's confidentiality would go a long way to show both my community and the public that you mean all you have said. The State should not hide behind confidentiality to avoid transparency. That which can be made public must, while, of course, not violating the rights of those who were affected.
To this end, I will be asking the press to keep an eye on the committee's work as it progresses.
I ask you to make some information available to the public about the other, similarly situated, cases and the remedies offered in them that are covered by your investigation. Even if it should be simply statistical data about how many cases were investigated, and their results in terms of types of misconduct found and remedies made, it will go a long way toward assuring my community and the public the investigation has been thorough, while protecting confidentiality.
Lastly, my community has raised concerns over the diversity of the committee. It has been widely suggested that it should have a peer/consumer representation on it, due to the fact that the different perspectives of consumers from their providers would help the committee understand where misconduct may have taken place. It is widely felt by my community that providers are more willing to suffer improprieties by explaining them in a more favorable light than those who experienced them would. A consumer presence on the committee would help to ensure that this is not done by mistake or through ignorance or unintentional bias.
I understand that there are issues with both the conductance of a formal investigation and with the issues of confidentiality in involving a peer component, but I encourage you to find a way to involve my community in your inquiry. Naturally, that involvement must be someone other than myself, as I am a witness and victim, and cannot appropriately be involved in the investigation.
When I asked for a disinterested investigation, I meant it. I am interested, and as such, should stay out of your way.
Lastly, I encourage you to look to my first point, that of a broader, scientific study of the system for similar issues, when you have reached your findings with respect to the specific cases here impacted. It is possible that is the place to bring in a consumer voice, should you object to doing so sooner.
Again, I thank you for making sure these issues see the light of day and that all of those affected are able to find closure and able to be assured their status before the law will not have been impacted by inappropriate actions of the State or its contractors acting under the color of its laws.
Aubrey Ellen Shomo