On February 17, 2021, the Roman Catholic Welfare Corp of San Jose and Saint Lucy School (hereafter St Lucy) filed a petition for a workplace violence restraining orders against Rose. Judge Carol Overton granted the petition on February 18, 2021, in the absence of Rose.
This report is about the case. I share this with you to show how Rose, a unhoused woman with a big heart, was treated in our society. I tried several times to contact Father Mark of Saint Lucy Parish to get St Lucy’s perspective. My efforts are not successful, and Father Mark has not responded to my requests. Here are the details I learned about the case.
I ask you to review some of the court documents I obtained from the Santa Clara Superior Court and determine if this is a gross injustice carried out by the powerful against an old, poor, defenseless, and unhoused woman. It is ironic that Roman Catholic Welfare Corp., a religious organization whose purposes are to share the Gospel and care for the poor, is filing false charges against the people it supposes to protect.
Figure 1 shows a chronological order of events according to the court paper. St Lucy filed a civil restraining order against Rose on February 17, 2021.
According to the declaration filed in Figure 2, it is apparent that St Lucy was concerned to have Rose around because of “health” concerns, accusing Rose of distributing food, especially boxes of perishable food. St Lucy was also concerned about the safety of the school children because of the presence of the homeless. St Lucy failed to mention that about 500 hungry people got their food from Rose each day, and most of the perishable food was given away within 24 hours of its arrival. Rose did not have any contact with the children.
Figure 3 shows the specific charges St Lucy filed against Rose: “…Rose has caused great annoyance, harassment, and substantial emotional distress to not only the administration and faculty at St. Lucy School but also to its grade school students.” I cannot find any court documents support these claims.
In the absence of Rose’s presence, Judge Carol Overton granted the petition on February 18, 2021. Rose had no opportunity to defend herself against the accusation. Figure 4 shows pages 1 & 2 of the temporary Restraining Order.
Fig. 4a, page 1
Fig. 4b, page 2
Here are some of the facts about Rose and her accuser. Rose was about 70, 4’ 5” with many physical challenges due to years of living on the street. Her accuser, the principal of St Lucy school, is more than 1’ taller than Rose, about 20 years younger, and in much better physical shape. It is pretty strange how it could be possible for a small, physically weak old lady in her 70s to harass and molest a tall, physically strong professional woman 20 years younger. Furthermore, suppose you see where Rose was, and the St Lucy school campus was well-protected by metal fences from her, as shown in Figure 5. In that case, it is even harder to imagine how it would be possible for Rose to get near the principal to harass and molest the principal, considering Rose did not even know who the principal was. For Rose to harass and molest the principal, she needed to walk around the metal fence and enter the school’s gate on Kennedy Ave.
Fig. 5a A satellite image of St Lucy’s campus
Figure 5b an illustration of Rose’s location
Furthermore, she needed to figure out how to pass the school security and find where the principal was to commit the crime. The most likely scenario was the principal did not like to see Rose around the school, went to Rose, and tried to persuade her to leave. The person who initiated the initial contact was most likely the principal. Neither the accuser nor the police provided any evidence of such assault or harassment. The school could have used Rose to teach the students about inequality in our society and the importance of treating those who are less fortunate with compassion and respect. Instead, the homeless people were viewed as nuisances. A large tarp covered a portion of the metal fences near Rose, preventing the students from viewing Rose and all her belongings.
Rose indeed spent several months at the location marked on the map. According to Rose, Rev. Mark often came to Rose and talked to her. Rose never threatened anyone. As far as wearing a mask was concerned, she wore her mask to meet people outside of her bubbles. She had neither the authority nor the responsibility to enforce the mask mandate. In addition, Rose was always outdoor, and her separation from the students and faculties at St. Lucy was always more than 12’, twice the distance the CDC recommended. She never put them in danger of catching the Covid-19 virus.
I should also point out the court hearing was so rushed, and Rose was not even present. Furthermore, Rose was 70 instead of 60, as recorded in the court document, ten years younger than her actual age. I do not know if it was a clerical error, a sloppy police investigation, or done on purpose to strengthen the case against Rose. Regardless, it was a careless case and unjust ruling rushing through court. How could a court arrive at a correct verdict based on so much false information?
Regarding the charges of the unruly behavior of some people near St Lucy school, Rose needed the same protection from these bad actors as much as the faculties and students received. Rose had complained to the police about these unruly characters and asked for protection repeatedly. Her requests were ignored. Rose was the victim, not the perpetrator here.
There are more than 10,000 homeless people in Santa Clara County in 2021. I see them everywhere I go, and the number is increasing each year rapidly. I often wonder how I can help them and what I should do if they were outside of my house. The case of St Lucy vs. Rose reminds me of a story told by Jesus, “The Rich man and Lazarus.” I sometimes wonder, am I the rich man in the story? I like to share it with you and hope it will help you see the case and the homeless people differently.
The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)
19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”