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Restraining Order...

[Newark Star Ledger Report; 6 February 2001]

By Greg Saitz, Star-Ledger Staff

Pop singer Whitney Houston is asking a Morris County judge to reinstate a restraining order against a Bronx psychiatric patient who believes Houston is her mother, after the woman escaped from her escorts two weeks ago.

Superior Court Judge Kenneth Mackenzie, sitting in Morristown, signed an order yesterday setting a hearing for Feb. 27 to address the issue of Desiree Weeks, who fled while at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx on Jan. 26. Police captured Weeks about 11 hours later at her sister's house in the Bronx.

The incident caused enough concern that Houston, a Mendham Township resident, asked the judge to reinstate her lawsuit against Weeks and issue a temporary restraining order similar to one he signed last March. Weeks believes Houston is the "supernatural reincarnation" of her mother and has sent cards, gifts and a four-tiered cake to the multi-Grammy award winner.

Houston's attorney, Thomas Weisnenbeck, filed court papers stating that Weeks is being held involuntarily at the Bronx Psychiatric Center and has refused treatment for her illness. Weeks suffers from psychosis and continues to be obsessive and delusional, the papers said, "insisting that Whitney Houston is her mother and that she be addressed as 'King Michael Houston' or 'King Houston.'"

Weeks was at St. Barnabas Hospital for undisclosed reasons when she ran away from two mental hygiene therapy aides escorting her from the psychiatric center, said Roger Klingman, a spokesman for the New York Office of Mental Health.

"She did not simply walk away," Klingman said. "She bolted."

The mental health agency is conducting an investigation, he said, noting there were 16 unauthorized absences from the 374-patient psychiatric center last year. He declined to release further information about Weeks, who is believed to be in her early 30's, citing patient confidentiality.

New York City Police alerted Houston's representatives of the escape after a member of Weeks' family told detectives about the previous restraining order. Alan Jacobs, who is in charge of security for Nippy Inc., a management company in Fort Lee that oversees Houston's career, flew up from North Carolina upon learning of Weeks' status to conduct his own investigation, court papers said.

Houston's publicist released a statement yesterday saying no extra precautions were taken during the time Weeks was free. "Life went on as usual," the statement said.

The judge issued a temporary restraining order March 2, 2000, after hearing about rambling letters Weeks began sending to Houston in August 1999, which were followed by Christmas gifts, Valentine's Day chocolates and the cake, all sent to Nippy offices. The order against contact also included Houston's young daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, and her mother, Emily "Cissy" Houston, who Weeks referred to in letters as her baby sister and "Nana."

Weisenbeck said yesterday that Houston voluntarily withdrew her lawsuit in June because "we thought that she (Weeks) was secure."

"What we need to have is a permanent restraint against her that sets reasonable restrictions on any contact she might attempt to have with our clients," he said.

NEWSFILE: 8 FEBRUARY 2001

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