Lee Harvey Oswald: Troubled Youth
Oswald Assessed by Probation Officer
Supplementary Facts and Explanations
Case # 23979
CHILD’S NAME---------------OSWALD, Lee Harvey, born 10/19/39, New Orleans, La.
ADDRESS-----------------------825 East 179th Street, Apt. 3-C, Bx.
NATURE OF PETITION: DELINQUENT CHILD
Petitioner, James F. Brennan, Attendance Officer, D.O. 24, respectfully alleges that on March 11, 1953 and prior thereto while residing at 825 East 179th Street, in that the petitioner alleges that the respondent herein has been excessively absent from school as follows: 46 full days and 8 half days from October 1, 1962 to January 15, 1953; further that the said child has refused to register in P.S. #44, Bronx, since January 15th, 1963, when he moved into that school district and that he has not attended school since that time; further that he is beyond the control of his mother insofar as school attendance is concerned.
Court Action: 3/12/53 JUSTICE DELANY PRESIDING. ATTENDANCE OFFICER, MOTHER BEFORE THE COURT.
MRS. OSWALD REPORTED THAT THE BOY REFUSED TO ATTEND COURT. WARRANT WAS ISSUED TO BE EXECUTED ON 3/19/53.
3/19/53. WARRANT TO BE EXECUTED.
4/16/53. Court Action: JUSTICE DELANY PRESIDING. ATTENDANCE OFFICER, MR. BRENNAN OF D.O. #24, MRS. OSWALD ON LEAVE BEFORE THE COURT. THE HEARING WAS HELD. HIS HONOR MADE A FINDING OF SCHOOL TRUANT. LEE WAS REMANDED TO YOUTH HOUSE UNTIL 5/7/53. FOR PSYCHIATRIC STUDY.
PREVIOUS COURT RECORD: None.
FAMILY HISTORY: Family history was related to the P.O. by Mrs. Oswald who was interviewed in our office 4/21/53. Mother, Marguerite Oswald nee Claverie, a widow, was born and raised in New Orleans, La. where she obtained 2nd year high school education. Mrs. Oswald is at present 45 years of age. She is of the Lutheran faith. In 1945, the family went to Fort Worth, Texas to live, and subsequently came to N.Y.C. in August of 1952 where the family have resided since. Mrs. Oswald stated that she came to NY at the invitation of her oldest son, John, who is in the U.S. Coast Guards, stationed at S.I. N.Y. She and Lee lived with John and his wife in their Manhattan apartment for about a month, but moved out when some friction developed. At the present time, Mrs. Oswald is employed at Martin’ Dept. Store, Bklyn, NY earning $45 per week. She works five days a week, being off on Weds and Sundays. The hours are from 9:45 a.m. to 6 P.M. Mrs. Oswald states she generally leaves home about 8:15 A.M. and returns at 7:15 P.M.
Father, Robert Lee Harvey, died in 1939 of a heart attack. Mr. Harvey was born and raised in New Orleans, where he attained a high school education. He died at the age of 45. At the time Mr. Harvey was an insurance agent.
The Oswalds were married on 7/19/29. Out of this union, the first for each party, were born three children. They are as follows:
John, 21 years of age, presently U.S. Coast Guards, stationed in S.I. John is married and has one child. Family reside here in N.Y.C.Mrs. Oswald described the relationship with her son, Lee, as being a good one. The boy is described as being no problem at home. According to the mother there has been no institutionalization in the family and ethical and moral standards in the home appear good. All members of the family are in good health.
Robert, 19, presently in the U.S. Marine.
Lee, 13, presently before the Court.
HOME AND NEIGHBORHOOD: Family reside in a residential area of the Bronx. The neighborhood is one of middle-income family, [sic] having adequate housing. Delinquency rate in this area is low. There are adequate recreational facilities nearby.
HOME AND NEIGHBORHOOD (CONT.) Mrs. Oswald occupies a three room furnished apartment consisting of one bedroom, parlor and a kitchen. Lee sleeps in the bedroom and Mrs. Oswald sleeps in a studio couch in the living room. PO was unable to visit the home due to the fact that Mrs. Oswald is employed and no arrangements could be made to visit the home. However, the A.O. had previously visited the home and described it as being a clean and nicely furnished home.
SCHOOL RECORD: Lee is registered at P.S. #117, class 7-10. This is the school he last attended. Upon his arrival from Texas in Sept. the boy attended a Protestant Parochial School and then transferred to P.S. #117, Bx. At P.S. $47 [sic] the boy had a attendance of being absent 48 whole days and two half days, from Oct. 1, 1952 to Jan. 15, 1953. The boy was transferred at that time to P.S. #44 but he refused to attend. Lee has not attended school since that time.
RELIGIOUS AFFILIATIONS: Lee is a Lutheran. He was baptized at the Trinity Lutheran Church at New Orleans, La., in Nov. 1939. They has not made his Communion nor Confirmation. Mrs. Oswald indicated that she and Lee do not go to Sunday Service, as they have been in N.Y. a short time and do not known any churches or congregations nearby.
LEISURE TIME ACTIVITIES AND SPECIAL INTERESTS: Lee was interviewed by the PO 4/23/53. The boy indicated that he does not belong to any organized group or part taking in any organized activity. The boy states that he generally gets up at 9 A.M. and watches TV and reads magazines until 3-4 P.M., in the afternoon. He indicated that he did not know anybody and hence did not go out to play. The boy states that he seldom goes out and stays home most of the time. The only occasion for his going downstairs is when he goes down on errands but not to play. He indicated that he formerly collected stamps. He was a football fan. The boy states he used to have a hobby of molding clay, collecting stamps but he does not do so anymore. He is a football fan, likes horse back riding. The boy states, “I like to be by myself and do things by myself.”
MENTAL AND PHYSICAL CONDITION: Lee is a boy of average height and weight. The boy had a normal birth and had the usual childhood illnesses which consisted of the measles, chicken pox, mumps and whooping cough. The boy had a mastoid operation when he was 5 years of age. There is no history of enuresis. Lee has never been involved in any serious accidents nor has he had any serious illnesses. They boy impressed the PO of a boy of normal mental and physical development.
PETITIONER’S STATEMENT: “see Nature of Petition.”
CHILD’S VERSION AND ATTITUDE: Lee, quiet boy was interviewed by the P.O. He is a boy of average height and weight. Lee was pleasant and friendly though withdrawn to himself. During the interview the boy’s expression was one of indifference. He had more or less of a blank expression registered little enthusiasm nor emotions. When questioned, he generally answers affirmatively by saying “I guess so.” He tried to evade an impression of unconcern as to what had taken place [sic].
The boy admitted the allegations of the petition. When questioned regarding his staying out of school, the boy states, “it take up too much of my time. I could be doing other things, playing around and looking at magazines. He further indicated, “I don’t like school. It’s too hard to do, I am not able to do the work.”
Lee told the P.O. he did not like the teachers, the school nor the children in school. He stated, “I like myself.” When P.O. inquired as to his relationship with his mother, the boy stated, “well I’ve got to live with her. I guess I love her.” The boy told the P.O. that he had too much difficulty making friends and hence he likes to be to himself. He indicated that he had more fun being alone.
The P.O. observed that the boy is somewhat shallow and seems to be immature to have little capacity for comprehension. Lee indicated that he would like to go into the service when he is 18. He told the P.O. that he has two brothers in the service, but he does not miss them. The boy states that he liked school in Texas but as he got older he found that he had other things he wanted to do. The boy would not enumerate other things he had to do except that he had a lot of things. Questioned as to his aim in life in what he wanted to do, the boy replied, “I want to let me go home and be by myself. P.O. inquired of Lee, as to whether he would return home, whether he would attend school. The boy replied, “I have a choice between going to school here between going to school or in an institution. ‘Does it matter?’ O.K., I go to school here.” Lee stated that while he liked Youth House he miss [sic] the freedom of doing what he wanted. He indicated that he did not miss his mother.
The P.O. discussed living in N.Y. with Lee. Lee indicated that he found N.Y. all right to live in. He indicated that it was immaterial to him as to where he live.
P.O. noticed that this boy seems to have no drive, no ambition, he seems to be content with merely just living. In our discussion with the boy, nothing seem to register with him.
PARENTAL VERSION AND ATTITUDE: Mrs. Oswald was interviewed by the P.O. on this date. Mrs. Oswald impressed the PO as an intelligent, well-meaning middle-aged woman, good education and background.
It is Mrs. Oswald's belief that the boy's difficulty stems from the fact that the had not been able to meet the changes in his environment. She describes him as always being a "loner". He would generally play alone and if boys joined him he would play with them. At school he was captain of the baseball team. In Texas, she states, the family had a home with a yard, a dog, and the boy would get along fine. Here in N.Y. family occupy [sic] an apartment and there is nothing for the boy to do. Mrs. Oswald described the boy as introvert [sic], the boy who has difficulty in making friendships as he made no effort to initiate any. Generally Lee waited for the children to make overtures to him. Regarding the boy's school attendance, the mother stated that he was always an average student in school. He likes school and seem to attend regularly. The mother feels that the boy moving to a different community and being placed in the midst of different nationalities and crowded apartment conditions, has had an adverse effect on the boy, that he has retreated into a shell. Mrs. Oswald indicated she recognizes the boy’s problem but there’s little she can do. She mentioned to the P.O. that the family formerly had their own car, their own home and that the boy had two brothers at home to play with. Mother indicated that she has a home in Texas, which she plans to sell. At present she is in no financial condition to return to Texas. The boy has no other family there to whom he can go.
Mrs. Oswald believes the present attitude of indifference and lack of concern is one of defiant [sic]. She attributes his behavior to that of adolescent behavior or growing up pains. The mother point out that when the boy first came here, she lived on Grand Concourse and the boy had difficulty in getting along with other children because of his manner and custom, that his mode of dress was different and he had a different accent. The boy at the time dressed a great deal in “jeans” levis where as the other boys in the neighborhood seems to be more or less better dressed. This seem to have had some sort of affect [sic] upon the boy.
Mrs. Oswald indicated that while she realized that the boy had little family life at home, that she is unable to give him adequate supervision, she would not want the boy place. She would prefer to have the child remain home. However, should the situation arise where she believe that placement seems absolutely necessary, she indicated that she would cooperate with any plan that the court may have.
SOCIAL AGENCY RECORD: Oswald, Marguerite (Claverie) & James-John Youth House 4/21/53 Marguerite and Lee (int. son Lee) Community Service Society, Family Div. #219055 1/16/53
EVALUATION AND RECOMMENDATION: Lee Oswald, 13 year old boy of the Lutheran faith, is before the court for the first time. The boy had admitted the allegations of the petition. According to the boy, he is not attending school as he feels that he has many more important things to do. Aside from this, he has indicated that he does not like his teachers, his classmates nor the school. The boy has expressed a desire to be left alone.
The boy, the P.O.’s observed, is a friendly, likeable boy, who portrays very little emotions. Reaction to the present situation was one of indifference. The mother, while she seems a well meaning intelligent woman is unable to give Lee adequate supervision, due to her long working hours. Much of Lee’s difficulty seems to stem from his inability to adapt himself to the change of environment and the change of the economical [sic] status of the family. The record reveals the family was of means, having had their own home in Corning Texas, seemingly a full family life thus Lee had had has two brother living with them. Coming to N.Y.C., and moving into a crowded area, without his brothers, amongst varied groups, who dressed and spoke different from the boy Lee has been unable to find acceptance and has retreated into a shell wherein he prefers to confines of his apartment to that of dealing with other children.
The P.O. feels that this is a dangerous situation for the boy to isolate himself from other social contacts with children his age. The matter has been discussed with his mother. The possibility of returning to Texas or Louisiana was discussed with the mother, but she is unable to do so do to her present financial condition. While Mrs. Oswald is opposed to placement, she feels that she would go along with it if it seems absolutely necessary.
The P.O. feels that we are dealing with a boy who feels a great deal of insecurity and the need for acceptance. As it does not seem that this can be done with the boy remaining at home but it was felt that perhaps placement in an institution where these needs can be met would be beneficial at this time. However, recommendation is being held in abeyance pending the receipt of the psychiatric examination.
ALL OF WHICH IS RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED:
SUMMARY FOR P.O.’S REPORT PSYCHIATRIC DONE ON 5/1/53. “This 13 year old well built boy has superior mental resources and functions only slightly below his capacity level in spite of chronic truancy from school which brought him into Youth House. No finding of neurological impairment or psychotic mental changes could be made. Lee had to be diagnosed as “personality pattern disturbance with schizoid features and passive aggressive tendencies.” Lee has to be seen as an emotionally, quite disturbed youngster who suffers the impact of really existing emotional isolation and deprivation, lack of affection absence of family and life and rejection by a self involved and conflicted mother. Although Lee denies that he is in need of any other form of help other “remedial” one, we gained the definite impression that Lee can be reached through contact with an understanding and very patient psychotherapist and if he could be drawn at the same time into group psychotherapy. We arrive therefore at the recommendation that he should be placed on probation under the condition that he seek help and guidance through contact with a child guidance clinic, where he should be treated preferably by a male psychiatrist who could substitute, to a certain degree at least, for the lack of a father figure. At the same time, his mother should be urged to seek psychotherapeutic guidance through contact with a family agency. If this plan does not work out
favorably and Lee cannot cooperate in this treatment plane on an out-patient basis, removal from the home and placement could be resorted to at a later date, but it is our definite impression that treatment on probation should be tried out before the stricter and therefore possibly more harmful placement approach is applied to the case of this boy. The Big Brother Movement could be undoubtedly of tremendous value in this case and Lee should be urged to join the organized group activities of his community, such such [sic] as provided by the PAL or YMCA of his neighborhood.”
s/s Renatus Hartogs, M.D. Ph.d.
5/7/53. COURT ACTION: Justice McClancy presiding. Boy and his mother before the court P.O. reported on the case. Justice McClancy reviewing the record at some length and reading the Psychiatric report, Justice McClancy continued the boy on parole to 9/24/53. His Honor advised the boy that he was to return to school as soon as possible to attend school regularly. Mr. Brennan the A.O. is to return the case to court should the boy fail to do so. Justice McClancy requested that a referral be made to Community Service Society for possible work at their therapeutic treatment for this boy.
Lee was paroled to 9/24/53. Later the P.O. phoned the C.S.S. and spoke to Mrs. Olga Benjamin regarding the possibility of referring the boy to that agency. Mrs. Benjamin indicated that the CSS has a long waiting list. She felt the situation is one which is acute and requires a great deal of attention and skill. Mrs. Benjamin indicated she would discuss this matter with Mrs. Carver Hall, who will contact the P.O. In the meantime she suggested that we contact the Salvation Army to see whether they could possibly provide the facilities in the treatment that this boy needs.
P.O. later interviewed the mother and boy and advised Mrs. Oswald that a referral would be made to a Family Agency and that she is to keep these appointments when she is notified. Both mother and boy promised to cooperate.
J. Carro, P.O. (cms)5/7/53: P.O. contacted Mrs. Olga Benjamin, Social Worker of C.S.S., regarding possible referral of Lee to their agency. Mrs. Benjamin indicated that they have a long waiting list and that the situation requires a great deal of attention and skill. She indicated that Mrs. Oswald has been seen by them on 1/53 when the case was explored as it was referred to them by the Federation of Protestant Welfare agencies. An appointment was made for Mrs. Oswald for 1/30/53, which she did not keep. No further contacts have been had with this family. Mrs. Benjamin recommended that we contact the Salvation Army which she felt might be in a better position to meet this boy’s needs at this time.
J. Carro, P.O. (es)6/4/53: P.O. contacted Mr. Wilcox, Social Worker, Salvation Army, regarding possible acceptance of the case. Mr. Wilcox promised to call back.
J. Carro, P.O. (es)9/8/53: Material returned from Salvation Army rejecting the boy as the Salvation Army feels that they cannot offer any useful service to the boy. Salvation Army indicates that the boy, has pointed out in the psychiatric report, is severely disturbed and would need direct psychiatric treatment in a Child Guidance Institution. This is a service they cannot offer.
J. Carro, P.O. (es)9/24/53: Mrs. Oswald telephoned on this date, to state that she would be unable to appear in court. She pointed out that she felt that there is no necessity for her to return to court as the boy has made a marvelous adjustment. Lee returned to school on May 7th and had a very good attendance record thereafter. At the present time he is in the 9th grade at P.S. 44 and recently had the honor of being elected class president. The P.O. spoke to her in terms of having the boy attend our Treatment Clinic, as Intake is now. open and the P.O. felt that this boy could benefit from the group therapy that they would be able to offer. Mrs. Oswald appeared very resistant to this plan and her attitude was such that reflected another unwillingness to enter into any sort of arrangement at this time. She indicated that the boy seems to be doing well and would like to have him left alone as she feels that our stepping into the picture at this point would have a harmful effect. P.O. advised Mrs. Oswald that we would continue the boy under the supervision of the court for a period longer to see how he adjusts.
J. Carro, P.O. (es)COURT ACTION 9/24/53: Justice Fogarty presiding. No appearance. P.O. reported on the case. His Honor continued the boy on parole to 10/29/53 for progress report.
J. Carro, P.O. (es)10/21/53: Progress which was requested on 10/16/53 from P.S. 44 received on this date. Boy indicates that since the term commenced he has been present in school 21 3/2 days and absent 1- 3/2 days. His conduct is described as unsatisfactory. The school reports that the child has shown no improvement. Mrs. Oswald does not cooperate with the school authorities. She did not answer to a summons to come to school about her son’s welfare. (“During the past 2 weeks practically every subject teacher has complained to me about the boy’s behavior. He has consistently refused to salute the flag during early morning exercises. In many rooms he has done no work whatsoever. He spends most of his time sailing paper planes around the room. When we spoke to him about his behavior, his attitude was belligerent. I offered to help him he brushed out with, “I don’t need anybody’s help.”) (Signed) H. Rosen, Teacher)
J. Carro, P.O.In view of the above report, P.O. discussed the situation with supervisor, who felt that placement this time may have to be contemplated.
J. Carro, P.O.10/29/53: Mrs. Oswald telephone on this date, stating that she would not be able to appear in court. She had the keys to her job and would have to be there. She indicated she would be able to come to court on some other day if notified by P.O.
J. Carro, P.O.10/29/53: COURT ACTION: Case on School Part Calendar. Justice Sicher presiding. No appearance. P.O. reported on the case. Judge Sicher continued the boy on parole to 11/19/53 for placement plan and directed P.O. to make a referral to Berkshire Industrial Farm. If Berkshire farm is not available to take the boy, Judge Sicher gave permission to the court to refer the boy to Children’s Village.
Parents to be notified to appear 11/19/53
J. Carro, P.O.11/19/53: P.O. contacted Mr. Rosen of P.S. 44. Mr. Rosen indicated that since Mrs. Oswald’s visit to the school to discuss the situation with them, Lee has been getting along very well in school. The boy is now saluting the flag and he is showing a great deal of improvement. Mr. Rosen stated that he is no longer a behavior problem in the school.
J. Carro, P.O.11/19/53: COURT ACTION: Justice Sicher presiding. Case on School Part Calendar. Mrs. Oswald and her son, Lee, and counselor Nielson appeared before the court. His Honor explained to Mr. Nielson and Mrs. Oswald, the function of the court. Mr. Nielson indicated that Mrs. Oswald desired to have Lee discharged from supervision of the court, as she felt that they boy was presently no problem at this time and that she was capable of coping the child.
Judge Sicher talked to the mother and counselor at some length and advised them that Lee was a child who was in need of treatment, as the reports of the examination made on the boy seem to bear out; and hence, would not consider discharging the boy at that time. The mother was opposed to referral of the boy to any other agency.
His Honor counseled talked to the mother at some length and advised her that it would be for the best interest of Lee to have her cooperate with any plans that the court might have to offer at this time. Judge Sicher instructed P.O. to refer the boy to the court treatment clinic and to make a reference to the Protestant Big Brother, Case was paroled to 1/25/54 for a report on that date.
J. Carro, P.O.1/5/54: Mrs. Oswald telephone P.O. this date. Mr. Dunn, P.O. talked to her in the absence of Mr. Carro, who was on vacation. She stated she wished to speak with P.O. concerning the fact that she had to leave the city. After a long discussion with her and not receiving definite information, P.O. advised her to be at court to see Mr. Carro 1/11/54 with Lee and if needed, the case could be passed on. Mrs. Oswald agreed to do so.
In the afternoon, Mr. Groetz of the Protestant Big Brothers called at the office regarding the same matter. He indicated that he would telephone on the morning of 1/11. Mr. Groetz indicated that he believes the mother is anxious and willing and has found her most cooperative. P.O. did not find any chronological sheet which must have been made out for clinic but is not with the papers they returned.
T.P. Dunn, P.O. for12/21/53: Material on Lee Oswald returned from Court Clinic this date. A letter was attached indicating that the family’s lawyer to inform us [sic] that the family is moving to New Jersey. (Material filed in case record.)
J. Carro, P.O. (rl) D.2/1
1/26/54: Mrs. Barnes, A.O., phone this date to indicate she had received a letter from Mrs. Oswald indicating that she had left and taken Lee with her to in New Orleans, La.
Mr. Groetz, Protestant Big Brother, also phoned P.O. this date to inquire as to whether or not Mrs. Oswald had contacted P.O. as to her plans to move to New Orleans; she had indicated she wished to discuss the situation over with P.O.
J. Carro, P.O. (rl) D.2/11/28/54: COURT ACTION: Justice Polier presiding. A.O. present only. P.O. reported on the case, Mrs. Barnes A.O. showed the court a letter from Mrs. Oswald indicating she was leaving for La. Justice Polier adjourned the case to 3/11/54 for report by the as to the whereabouts of the boy and his mother.
J. Carro, P.O. (rl) D.2/13/11/54: COURT ACTION: Justice Delany. No appearance. Attendance Officer, Mrs. Barnes, P.O. before the court. Mrs. Barnes reports that reply from contact with New Orleans, La. received indicates that they have no information as to the whereabouts of the family. A former assoc. thinks the family may be living in California. Justice Delany discharged the case on this date since Lee is no longer in our jurisdiction.
J. Carro, P.O. (es)