Janne and Ronny Eliassen receive one million in settlement from the City of Bergen.
The siblings Janne and Ronny Eliassen grew up under extremely harsh conditions.
Bergens Tidende (BT) has in a number of articles over the last few years documented how bad their childhood was, and the consequences thereof.
Janne is brain damaged and confined to a wheelchair after she collapsed in 2000. She has lived in a nursing home since she was 27 years old. Ronny is undergoing treatment after years of substance abuse.
The then Chief Commissioner of Bergen, Monica Mæland, (Conservatives) in 2013 publicly apologised for the conditions they were subject to in their upbringing.
Presently the municipality has reached an agreement with the lawyer representing the sibling
– It’s good that they both have received compensation. My immediate thought is that I thought the sum would be lower, so this has escalated in the wake of the newspaper’s focus. The municipality believes that there is no clear evidence that they have breached any laws or regulations, says Kristin Whitehouse.
Some sort of decency
Whitehouse is Janne’s closest childhood friend, and has been pushing for that story to be revealed. The municipality’s agreement with the siblings is now publicised.
It says among other things:
“the municipality of Bergen does not acknowledge liability in these cases, but will out of an overall assessment provide a lump sum of NOK 500,000 each to Janne May Lothe Eliassen and Ronny Arne Lothe Eliassen.
This amicable agreement is regarded as a full and final settlement between the parties. ”
Although the municipality does not acknowledge any liability, she believes it is an admission of guilt since they agree to pay out compensation.
– Good enough is never achieved. But under the circumstances, I think there is a kind of decency in this.
There has been more than four years since their story became known, the municipality has gone through all interaction they have had with the siblings, resulting in over 2,000 pages of documentation.
Among the notes we find:
“The school sees Janne Eliassens home situation as an obstacle to her schooling,” the headmaster of the Adventist Church School wrote.
“Is clearly a victim of negligence whereby the mother has the inability to take care of him,” the school physician said about Ronny in 1992.
Head of the city council, Harald Schjelderup (Labour), says that this has been a painful and difficult issue.
– Not in the least for Janne and Ronny. When this matter became public four years ago, everyone was very affected. Since then, it has led to many painstaking investigations and studies, both social and legal, to see what has really occurred
The clear advice they received from their lawyers, according to Schjelderup, is that there is no liability.
– Why forking out the money then?
-the City council has registered the legal notion, but nevertheless wished to make a settlement outside of court.
We therefore took this initiative and we are pleased that we have come to an amicable solution, Schjelderup says, and commend the sibling’s couple’s lawyer for the dialogue they have had in this matter.
– Get more out of life
Dagmar Løndal is the cousin of her late mother and Janne’s next of kin. She thinks it’s very nice that they received compensation.
– There were so many institutions involved. I think it is a human right that the two would be redressed in light of what they have been through.
Løndal also notes that the municipality did not acknowledge responsibility, but gives them money anyway.
– It sounds a bit strange. It is not so easy to understand. But hopefully this can help the two to get a little more out of life.
Source: Bergens Tidende / Norway Today