LOWELL -- Gov. Deval Patrick said Thursday he would like to see sick teenager Justina Pelletier, who is in the state's custody and at the center of a court battle, returned to her home state of Connecticut, and possibly returned to her family there.

Patrick made his comments about Pelletier when confronted outside 110 Canal St. in Lowell by Rev. Patrick Mahoney, a spokesman for the Pelletier family.

"Reverend, I think she should be home in Connecticut," Patrick said. "We have appeared in court in order to have her sent home to Connecticut. Believe it or not, the court has jurisdiction, not us."

The governor added: "I agree with you she should be home close to her family, if not with her family."

A year ago, Boston Children's Hospital officials filed a medical child-abuse complaint against the parents of 15-year-old Justina, prompting DCF officials to step in and take custody. She remains in the custody of the state's Department of Children and Families, known as DCF.

Mahoney called on Patrick to do more to make sure Pelletier is returned to her parents in Connecticut.

"I appreciate your work on civil rights in the past, let's now protect this girl's civil rights," said Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition. "Let's get her home."

"You know you can help in this situation and you are not doing it," Mahoney said later.


Patrick replied, "I know what I can do and I've been doing a lot, probably more than you know and more the public is entitled to know under the law. You can believe that or not."

Patrick was in Lowell to announce a new UMass Lowell Innovation Hub in a downtown Lowell building.

Tufts Medical Center doctors had previously diagnosed Justina with mitochondrial disease, for which she was receiving treatment. The doctors at Children's, though, said her illness was primarily psychiatric.

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