Parents In Cancer Custody Case Sue

Daren and Barbara Jensen, in photos provided by police in Sandy, Utah. The two are fugitives and face kidnapping charges for taking their 12-year-old son Parker out of Utah, in order to defy a court order for him to have chemotherapy they contend would be harmful. 8-26-03
The parents of a boy once at the center of a fierce battle over orders to treat his cancer with chemotherapy are suing the state, its child welfare system and a hospital where he was treated.

Daren and Barbara Jensen are asking for unspecified damages for emotional distress in the case, which prompted them to temporarily flee the state with the child. The lawsuit filed late Monday also names four doctors who diagnosed their son, a state social worker and a lawyer.

The Jensens claim they had the right to direct care for their son and to refuse medical treatments. They contend the state violated those rights when it sought custody of then-12-year-old Parker to force medical care under the guidance of physicians his parents had not selected.

A telephone message left with the Jensens' attorney was not immediately returned.

Spokesmen for the Utah Attorney General's office, the Division and Child and Family Services and the hospital said they could not comment because their agencies had not yet been served with the suit.