The day before parents of the Staten Island boy driven to suicide by bullies buried their son, disturbing claims emerged about the 13-year-old’s home life.
Daniel Fitzpatrick lived in fear of his parents’ alcohol-fueled anger, hiding in the attic to avoid his mom’s boozy outbursts, according to an Administration of Children’s Services report obtained by the Washington Post. The family lawyer countered the ACS accusations, calling them an attempt to discredit families the boy’s Catholic school saw as problematic.
Daniel’s sister Kristen found him dead in the attic on Aug. 11, a belt wrapped around his neck. The teen had suffered merciless bullying about his weight and grades — and the staff at Holy Angels Catholic Academy did nothing about it, according to an unsent letter the child penned in July.
“I gave up. The teachers . . . they didn’t do anything,” he wrote, according to the damning letter.
But the ACS report points to another source of stress and trauma for the boy — his parents, Maureen and Daniel Fitzpatrick.
Daniel’s sister found him dead in the attic on Aug. 11.
“Danny said mom being drunk affects him in everything and makes him angry,” ACS alleged.
“He said dad also drinks, but controls himself more than mom. Student can’t remember a time when mom was not drunk often,” according to the fall 2015 report.
“Danny denies physical abuse by mom and dad, but says Kristen, his older sister, hides him in the attic or his room when mom is drunk. He says his dad and Kristen protect him.
“Danny denies suicidal thoughts, but feels angry, sad, has thoughts of wanting to run away. Mother is blaming his teachers for his failures and has written several accusatory letters to school. Student is afraid of both parents anger.”
Daniel Fitzpatrick wrote a gut-wrenching letter months before his suicide.
(Mary DiBiase Blaich )
Fitzpatrick family lawyer Scott Rynecki told the Washington paper the ACS claims were bogus, furnishing as proof a letter from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services addressed to the dead boy’s mother.
Child protective services found “no credible evidence” of abuse or maltreatment and deemed the report “unfounded,” according to the letter.
“The belief is that the Catholic school themselves put in some sort of claim and spoke to the child and somehow twisted his claims. ACS issued a letter, which fully and completely exonerated the family,” Rynecki said.
NYPD confirmed there were no domestic incidents at the family’s home dating back to at least January 2015.
Daniel attended Holy Angels Catholic Academy in Bay Ridge, where he was regularly bullied by a group of five boys.
(Jeff Bachner/for New York Daily News)
Before he died, Daniel was set to start classes at a different school in the fall — Brooklyn’s Xaverian High School.
Holy Cross had recommended that Daniel repeat the seventh grade — but at a different school. The principal told Daniel’s father she didn’t think the school would be a “good environment” for the boy to fall a grade behind, saying it might “damage his psyche.”
In his July letter, Daniel wrote that it was a group of five boys who had singled him out for constant teasing.
“They did it constantly. I ended up fighting [one boy] and got a fractured pinkie,” he wrote.
A group of 300 mourners gathered Wednesday for Daniel’s funeral.
(Debbie Egan-Chin/New York Daily News)
His teenage tormentors called him lazy and threw balls at him in gym class, according to his parents.
“My son shouldn’t have to die to be heard,” Daniel’s mother Maureen told The News in an interview.
“There’s something wrong with the adults in authority positions when kids can’t go to them for help.”
Although Daniel met with a guidance counselor, his parents refused to give consent for ongoing appointments.
Maureen and Daniel Fitzpatrick were stoic at Wednesday’s funeral Mass, while the 13-year-old’s three sisters wept openly.
“Mommy loves you with all my heart and soul. I’ll see you later, and I thank God for giving me you,” Maureen told the crowd of 300 mourners.