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December 03, 2016
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Court appeal could send hospitalized Afghan vet to jail

Vietnam veteran Bob Byrne of Delaware Township is pictured at the October 16 Pike County Commissioners meeting. Byrne was there as a spokesman for a legal fundraising effort for the family of Afghanistan veteran Tim Flaherty. Byrne is a member of Wednesday veterans’ counseling group, which Flaherty attended for a while.
TRR photo by David Hulse

Caridi believes that the Pike County Jail will not be able to provide Flaherty with the emotional and physical help he needs, and that those who suffer from their combat service to the country deserve whatever help society can give them. “There are 22 suicides a day among recent vets. None of them asked to be sent to war,” he said.

Neither Michael Weinstein, who represented Flaherty at trial, nor Shannon Muir, who is representing him in the appeal, would comment on the case.

Flaherty’s grandmother, Mary Flaherty, said that the Montrose VA program is geared to PTSD, issues she said the army would never recognize during Flaherty’s active service. “He’s made tremendous progress. He’ll always have (PTSD), but you can compensate…. His frame of mind is back to where he used to be.”

She said Flaherty has responded to the intensive program at Montrose and opened up in talking to those working with him about his injuries.

In a recent visit she said, “He smiled for the first time since he came back. He’s always been insulated, never trusted people.”

She said her grandson is talking about going back to school, having a life and getting a job, perhaps to work with elderly veterans. “It would be very hurtful if it’s more important for him to sit in jail, now that he’s getting better,” she said.

The appeal is still pending and state Superior Court has not set a date for oral presentations in the case.