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Sister Jeanne O'Laughlin Comments on the Elian Gonzalez CaseAired April 12, 2000 - 3:29 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BOBBIE BATTISTA, CNN ANCHOR: ... approaching the microphone is the president of Barry College, Sister Jeanne O'Laughlin. It is at her home where Elian Gonzalez and his relatives have been staying since the deal to have the two sides meet fell through this morning, so let's listen.
SISTER JEANNE O'LAUGHLIN, PRESIDENT, BARRY UNIVERSITY: I wanted to come on behalf of the family -- on behalf of the family and let you know what seems to be happening at this point.
This -- yesterday, I visited Marisleysis in the hospital and I saw her condition. I was told that she would be released today, but there was concern of her going back to the same environment where she could be under the same stress. So I was asked by Lazaro if I could -- if they could mention that my house might be a place that she could feel safe and get strong.
This morning, I was asked by the family to come to the house. I think that the stress that they all are under, they've sensed the need to have some space.
Also, Elian was having difficulty getting dressed and was not willing to leave the house. He left the house on the condition that we would stop by and pick up Marisleysis. We did that, and she is resting in the house. The little boy is happy right now in the house. We have hopefully a chance to do some good healing in the family, and it is my hope and prayer that as the child becomes acquainted -- reacquainted with his father that there will be peace in the family. And that is my prayer and my hope.
There are many good people involved, people of goodwill and people who seek to do the best for the boy, and that is my prayer this day: that somehow the Lord will bring resolution to this human tragedy that involved the death of a mother, the yearning of a father and the aching of a sponsoring family.
So we ask God's blessing then on all gathered here and somehow trust that the good for the boy will be done.
Thank you very much.
QUESTION: Is the family now volunteering to hand over the little boy?
O'LAUGHLIN: I think the family is becoming more reconciled and facing what perhaps could be pain.
QUESTION: Will Janet Reno come here (OFF-MIKE)...
O'LAUGHLIN: I don't have that clear understanding. I know that she is coming. I would hope that she would feel welcome here also.
QUESTION: Will the family be staying with you for the night, or are they going back to their home?
O'LAUGHLIN: I think that they will be staying here so that they do not have to move again. The child is very much at ease here.
O'LAUGHLIN: No, not yet.
QUESTION: Are the relatives talking about a handover tomorrow morning?
O'LAUGHLIN: No, they are not. They are waiting, I believe, to talk to the attorney general.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's all for right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
O'LAUGHLIN: Thank you, and I feel bad that you're out here in inclement weather. But maybe just a prayer on my behalf for you will keep the rain away from you.
May God speak to the world through you and may your truth be heard. Thank you.
BATTISTA: Sister Jeanne O'Laughlin, who has been harboring the Gonzalez family in Miami, explaining that she offered the family her home as a refuge from all of the tension and the stress of this situation, and that Marisleysis, the woman who has been the primary caretaker for Elian, had not been feeling well and had been in the hospital. And so they picked her up and also brought her to the sister's home.
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