The Associated Press

Judge Orders Sex Change For Mass. Murder Convict

Michelle Kosilek, formerly known as Robert, in 1993 (AP File)

Michelle Kosilek, formerly known as Robert, in 1993 (AP File)

BOSTON — A federal judge on Tuesday ordered state prison officials to provide a taxpayer-funded sex-reassignment surgery to a transgender inmate serving life in prison for murder.

U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf ruled in the case of Michelle Kosilek, who was born as a man but has received hormone treatments and lives as a woman in an all-male prison. Robert Kosilek was convicted of murder in the killing of his wife in 1990.

Wolf is believed to be the first federal judge to order prison officials to provide the surgery for a transgender inmate.

In his ruling, Judge Mark Wolf found that surgery is the “only adequate treatment” for Kosilek’s “serious medical need.”

Kosilek first sued the Massachusetts Department of Correction (DOC) 12 years ago. Two years later, Wolf ruled that Kosilek was entitled to treatment for gender-identity disorder, but stopped short of ordering surgery. Kosilek sued again in 2005, arguing that the surgery is a medical necessity.

In his ruling Tuesday, Wolf found that surgery is the “only adequate treatment” for Kosilek’s “serious medical need.”

“The court finds that there is no less intrusive means to correct the prolonged violation of Kosilek’s Eighth Amendment right to adequate medical care,” Wolf wrote in his 126-page ruling.

Prison officials have repeatedly cited security risks in the case, saying that allowing her to have the surgery would make her a target for sexual assaults by other inmates.

But Wolf found that the DOC’s security concerns are “either pretextual or can be dealt with by the DOC.” He said it is up to prison officials to decide how and where to house Kosilek after the surgery.

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  • J.R.

    You have got to be kidding me.  Judge Wolf, you are a moron.

  • Nike Damaskos

    This ruling doesn’t pass the common sense test.  

  • Tom

    Lets use common sense, he killed his own wife… he has been living as a transsexual and tried to castrate himself and also “attempted suicide”.   Let’s use the tax payers thousands of dollars to give him a sex-change operation… 

    That is sure to make him a sane person!   How many families in need could use this tax payers money???  Or use it to fix the roads anything but this!!!

  • Jpmacco

    As a gay man, I have tremendous empathy for the transgendered community. I remember when we lived in such shame and homosexuality was considered a mental illness. The APA finally acknowledged homosexuality was not a mental illness. People who feel they are not of their biological sex should be evaluated for chromosomal abnormalities. If there is such they should be able to choose their sex which should be insurance supported. If there is no abnormality they deserve treatment for gender identity disorder. 

    However, if they are in prison, without a chromosomal abnormality, they need to adjust. If they cannot, the system allows counseling for such. But such a person should not be allowed psychiatric treatment and certainly not a sex change. Once they get out of prison they can choose to change their sex with their own money.

  • jefe68

    This has to be the height of legal hogwash and the law being perverted to give an accused murderer, one whom had no remorse, a sex change operation. His lawyer is using the 8th amendment and is perverting it. I’m not a conservative nor a religious zealot and I don’t really care about other peoples sexuality.  But this man has been accused of murdering his wife. I do realize that he is suffering, but so is Cheryl’s family.
    Give the man medication if he’s suicidal but a 40k operation? No, let him/her raise the money and pay for it.

  • John Y.

    It is not the cost of the operation that is the biggest issue, it is what will happen later.  No one talks about this.  He (she) certainly would sue to be transferred to a woman’s prison.  She (he)certainly could not be part of a men’s prison.  What a mess that would be.

  • gcrea

    This issue is outrageous.  Honestly, are we going to sit here and let our tax dollars go to paying for a sex change for a convicted murderer???  WTF??? 

    If people want a sex change, go for it.  Its no one’s business but their own.  But why in the world would the state have to pay for it???  This is absolute insanity. 

  • Eve

    If it’s not medically necessary (and I don’t see how it could be) it should not be paid for by a prison insurance plan. If a person has private health insurance and is in prison then yes. 

  • Tnablanc26

    Are u kidding me…. This is craziest crock of crap I have ever heard of… The man needs to be locked away in a mental institute he should have no rights he took the life away from someone and at that moment he should of lost all his rights what about the rights of the woman he killed or her family’s rights… Mass u have gone too far with this one…. Maybe the judge that made the ruling should have his head examined…

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