Deratany Firm in Chicago Boosts Morale of NY Mom and Gay Teen Son

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Attorney, playwright, and human rights advocate, Jay Paul Deratany, acts as a kind of 'guardian angel' to Rhonda Mangus and her son, Michael, after a grueling legal battle in New York State.

Rhonda Mangus feels she and her son, Michael, have a sort of 'Earth Angel' in Jay Paul Deratany, counselor at law.

This past winter, Mangus, of North Tonawanda, New York, failed to have a ruling amended after going all the way to the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division.

The case was one dating back to 2005, and involved taking the then 13 year old Michael out of North Tonawanda High School due to conflict issues over the teen's gay identity.

Unfortunately for Mangus, her own parenthood was called into question, in a serious way and for reasons she feels are unjust. (This matter was in regard to case number 1600 TP 09 0-1245; The Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department, in the matter of Rhonda Mangus, petitioner, versus respondents Niagara County Department of Social Services and New York State Office of Children and Family Services; Anthony S. Pecoraro was Mangus' legal counsel. See pdf: .)

Now, she is seeking to try once more to find justice. And her battle has just received a tremendous boost: It has been made easier by high-profile cause attorney, Jay Paul Deratany, of Chicago Illinois.

Deratany and his associate Nathan Polum, have helped Mangus to file a postponement for an appeal, and are continuing to advise her on a pro bono basis. They are currently awaiting paperwork required to again appeal the decision at the New York state level.

Just knowing that a high profile attorney like Deratany - named top lawyer by Chicago Magazine for three consecutive years - is in the background, willing to speak and advise, is a dream come true for Mangus .

"I'm just grateful and thrilled," said Mangus from her North Tonawanda home. "I had read about Mr. Deratany, the work he has done, his philanthropy and advocacy, and even his writing a human rights play for the Chicago stage, 'Haram Iran'. I thought about contacting him, but I never dreamed I could be helped by someone of his stature, and I am just so thankful. And Nathan Polum has been so generous and has given of his expertise. I'm thrilled. "

In 2008, Deratany acted as playwright, creating for the Chicago stage the play, "Haram Iran", depicting the true story of two young homosexual males hung for their "crime" in Iran. The play was lauded by the Human Rights Campaign and praised by Chicago art critics and gay advocacy groups. In the same year, Deratany ran for Cook County commissioner, but lost the seat to the Republican incumbent in a narrow margin.

Despite his grueling schedule, the 43 year old personal injury attorney, specializing in the rights of injured children, has taken it upon himself to advise Mangus, even refusing donations from a New York PR firm for his efforts. A representative of Gnosis Arts, Multimedia has this to say about Deratany: "He is a cause lawyer, and this is one more proof of his dedication." "He is the kind of attorney who gives honor to the profession," said Ros Newell, a Massachusetts gay advocate who has read of the case.

Aaron McQuade, from New York’s Sirius OutQ radio, aired an interview with Mangus, discussing her legal battle, on Jan. 18.

Mangus is also looking for local legal counsel in Niagara county. As a mother who tried her best to defend her child, her humiliation has been devastating. But it seems like good fortune may be appearing on her horizon now and, due in no small part, to JP Deratany.

The Jay Paul Deratany firm is located at 221 North LaSalle St, Suite 2200, Chicago, IL 60601
Court document:
News interview on Mangus case:


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SM Kovalinsky
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