SALEM, Mass. – A woman has been charged with withholding cancer medication from her 8-year-old autistic son, who prosecutors say likely will die because the cancer has returned.
Kristen Anne LaBrie, 36, of Beverly, Mass., was released on personal recognizance Monday after pleading not guilty in Salem District Court to a charge of reckless child endangerment.
Her son, Jeremy Fraser, had been in remission from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He had a good prognosis when first diagnosed, with chances of recovery put at 85 percent to 90 percent, according to a police report.
But his chances have dropped to 10 percent since being deprived of medication, authorities said.
Prosecutor Kate MacDougall said "in all likelihood, Jeremy Fraser will not see his ninth birthday."
"This child was in remission," she said. "His prognosis was good. This child came out of remission. ... He is not expected to survive."
Labrie declined comment to the Salem Evening News as she left court. Her lawyer, Kevin James, said Labrie had taken her son more than 100 times to Massachusetts General Hospital and "has been extensively involved in this child's care." He said prosecutors had "a very weak case."
According to a police report, Fraser was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2006 and underwent a five-phase regimen of chemotherapy, including drugs that were supposed to be given to him at his house by his mother.
Police said LaBrie canceled at least a dozen appointments for chemotherapy treatments. MacDougall also said LaBrie did not fill at least half of the prescriptions her son was given.
In March, Dr. Alison Friedmann, the child's oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, filed a report of suspected neglect with the Department of Social Services after discovering Fraser's cancer had returned, something that should not have happened if he was on his medications.
The boy's father, Eric Fraser, now has full custody of his son in Saugus. He said Jeremy spends part of his day in a special education program.
"The kid's a peach," he said. "He doesn't do one bad thing." Eric Fraser said he's outraged LaBrie did not have to have to post bail Monday. "I'm pretty disgusted about the whole justice (system) and DSS," Fraser said. "Now my son's going to die."