CLEARWATER — A man whose mother was sentenced to life in prison for trying to kill him has filed a lawsuit against her.
On March 22, 2008, Celeste Minardi pulled out two knives during supervised visitation with her 15-year-old son at a Largo doctor's office and began slashing and stabbing him in the abdomen, neck and forehead.
Last month, Minardi, 59, of Dunedin was sentenced to life in prison for first-degree attempted murder.
On March 20, Bradley Driscoll, now 19, sued his mother for "savagely" attacking him. He seeks compensation for physical and emotional injuries, but the lawsuit does not provide an amount.
The day his mother was sentenced, Driscoll told the court that he fell asleep during a visit with her and awoke to a knife plunging into his stomach. He said his mother had a history of being violent and manipulative. He told the judge that life in prison would be an appropriate sentence for her.
During the hearing, his father, Timothy, said his son has scars that will never go away. The teen could not sleep in his bedroom for two years after the attack and slept with the light on afterward, he said. Bradley tried counseling, but didn't find it beneficial, he said.
Minardi apologized to Bradley at the sentencing hearing and told him she was not a monster.
Bradley Driscoll now studies business at the University of Miami. His recent suit says he suffered physically and mentally and incurred financial damage due to the expense of medical care and loss of earnings.
Timothy Driscoll, a St. Petersburg lawyer who works for a firm that represents the Tampa Bay Times, also incurred expenses for medical care for his son while Bradley was a minor, the suit said.
He and Minardi married in 1984 and divorced in 2005. He got custody of Bradley and Minardi got regular supervised visits with the boy.
In November 2007, Minardi filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, listing assets worth about $211,000 and liabilities of nearly $242,000. She said her checking account held about $80 and her sole source of income was the $3,600 her ex-husband paid her every month in alimony. That amount was reduced to $868 per month in November 2009, according to their divorce case.
The same day Bradley Driscoll and his father filed the recent lawsuit against Minardi, Timothy Driscoll filed a motion to temporarily modify the alimony order. Because of Minardi's criminal conviction for trying to kill Bradley, Driscoll argues that his alimony obligation should be terminated. And since she was sentenced to life in prison, her need for alimony has been "permanently eliminated," according to the motion.
In March 2010, Timothy and Bradley Driscoll sued the psychologist who was supposed to supervise Bradley's visit with Minardi four years ago. That case is ongoing.
Bradley Driscoll could not be reached for comment. His father declined comment, as did Minardi's older son, Dana Minardi.
Minardi has a history of mental health issues tracing back to adolescence. And, according to experts who testified at her sentencing, she suffers from various mental health problems, including bipolar and personality disorders.
Minardi, who pleaded no contest to the charges against her, also received a concurrent sentence of 15 years for aggravated child abuse. She is serving her sentence at the Lowell Correctional Institution's Lowell Annex in Ocala.
Lorri Helfand can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4155. Go to tampabay.com/letters to write a letter to the editor.