Murderer's sex change sparks controversy

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September 5, 2012, 8:31 am
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(NECN: Jackie Bruno, Boston) - A recent ruling by a U.S. District Judge has stirred some controversy.

U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf has ruled that the state must pay for sex reassignment surgery for a convicted murderer. 

If the surgery is carried out, taxpayers will have to foot the bill - and that bill could be as much as $20,000. 

This has been a long battle for Michelle Kosilek and her attorney.

In 1990, Kosilek was convicted of killing her wife, Cheryl.

At the time, Kosilek was living as Robert Kosilek. 

While she still is biologically a man, she says she feels more like a woman.

The judge has ruled that not providing sex reassignment surgery would be a violation of her 8th amendment right. 

Even Department of Correction doctors say the surgery is a medical need, but others argue it's elective and shouldn't be covered by tax payer dollars.

One of those critics is Senator Scott Brown. He's calling an appeal to this decision. He said it's "an outrageous abuse of taxpayer dollars". 

He also said: "We have many big challenges facing us as a nation, but no where among those issues would I including providing sex change surgery to convicted murderers." 

NECN Reporter Jackie Bruno asked people in Boston what they think about this controversy.

"I feel like if its taxpayers' money then maybe not. But I also understand that if he doesn't feel right as a man then he should have that right, too. But if someone else is footing the bill, then maybe that shouldn't happen," Dahne Ledford of Dorchester said.

"That's his problem. He should worry about that himself. He's a criminal. I mean so it's like why should someone have to help him out with something like that," Tara Bernardez of Boston said.

The other problem for the Department of Corrections is where to house Kosilek if she does get the surgery. 

Right now, she is living in an all male prison. If she undergoes the sex change, it's up to the Department of Corrections to decide where to place her. 

Tags: Boston, taxpayers, Mark Wolf , the morning show, Jackie Bruno, murderer, robert kosilek, michelle kosilek, Cheryl, sex change, sex reassignment surgery
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