Judge issues gag order for Iowa family, mental health help postponed

The family’s son is diagnosed with severe mental illness.
CC courthouse from VO

CLINTON, Iowa -- A family battling the mental health system for the past 10 years is still on hold after a judge rescheduled their first hearing.

Gracie and Aaron Nelson sat in front of a judge for the first time yesterday, Sept. 21.  They hoped the judge would give them state financial backing for their son's treatment. Instead, the judge postponed the hearing and issued the family and their lawyer a gag order.

Aaron's son, Tyler, is diagnosed with severe mental illness. Gracie married into the family 13 years ago, and they were able to start treating Tyler 10 years ago. However, the treatments didn't help much, and his diagnosis became more severe the older he got.

Related: "Find help yourself" - Family fights Iowa mental health system for 10 years

The Nelsons tried to get the Clinton County Department of Human Services and Attorney to help them pay for the increasing medical costs, but they were denied.

They filed complaints with the Iowa Attorney General's office, and the Des Moines office finally offered to represent the DHS in court.

"That is not a common move," the Nelson's attorney, Matt Noel, said.

News 8 was not allowed in the courtroom, and the judge told the Nelsons that they were not allowed to speak about the proceedings or they would be held in contempt of court.

Noel said he was not sure when the next hearing would be.