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Autistic Man Who Allegedly Attacked Young Child Not Arrested

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posted on Aug, 7 2013 @ 09:16 PM
I'm interested to hear member views on this one. For the record, I don't think this is a HUGE concern and am not screaming 'someone think of the children!' but I do think after an incident like this perhaps a little discussion is in order.

ABERDEEN, Wash. -- The mother of a 3-year-old boy is furious that a man wasn't arrested after he allegedly assaulted the child at an Aberdeen playground.

The suspect is developmentally disabled, and prosecutors say that presents a challenging legal issue.

Three-year-old Matthew Svoboda was playing at the park Tuesday when things got ugly. The boy's family claims a 27-year-old man started attacking the child without warning.

I don't take issue with the man not being arrested, as the video points out he has the mental capacity of a 5 year old and I think throwing him in jail or a mental hospital would do no good and be (in my opinion) cruel. What I do take issue with is letting him go back into the park. To me it seems like it would be a very good idea to keep people with mental disabilities far enough away from children out in public that they can be reigned in without incident.

So my real question is, who should be held responsible? I think it should be the handlers, and I think there needs to be a review of the procedures in place to prevent this from happening again. I remember when I was in school there were some very dangerous kids in the special programs that I personally thought shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the rest of the students. Things happen fast, and some of those kids were huge.

I think it's very important to show compassion for these folks, they didn't choose this and they should be treated with as much dignity and respect as possible. I want them to have happy lives and get to go outside and have fun, but I do think there should be a little more caution.

Representatives from the Harbor Alternative Living Association would not comment on the attack, and neither would anyone from the State Department of Developmental Disabilities, which oversees the association.

This bothers me too. Of course they have a duty to protect those in their care, but they also have a duty to inform the public of their procedures, especially after one of their charges attacks a child.


posted on Aug, 7 2013 @ 09:21 PM
reply to post by Domo1

such a sad case. i wonder if the mother would support a 5 year old being thrown into prison? but then again, a 27 year old could do serious damage, even kill.

classic autism must be living hell.

as for what to do? perhaps more therapy, or a personal attendant. he's not crazy, but he doesn't understand things the way even a normal 5 year old would.

neither jail nor a mental institution would be good. i don't know, this is a tough one.

posted on Aug, 7 2013 @ 09:22 PM
I think, it should all be down to who has guardian ship over the man.

That is where the responsibilities lie.

posted on Aug, 7 2013 @ 09:34 PM
reply to post by Bob Sholtz

That's pretty much what I think about it. Really left me feeling down. The poor guy probably doesn't even know he did anything wrong. He doesn't need to be jailed or further institutionalized, but I do hope there is something in place to keep this from happening again, and not just to protect others but also himself. Imagine if he had attacked a kid with a parent who wasn't aware of what was going on and beat the crap out of him, or if was able to run into the middle of an intersection.

I really don't want anyone to get in trouble, it just raised some questions about what to actually do about these folks. I don't know how many others were in the group, and how many attendants were present, but I have a feeling those in charge of watching are usually a bit overwhelmed.

posted on Aug, 7 2013 @ 09:48 PM
reply to post by Domo1

I don't take issue with the man not being arrested, as the video points out he has the mental capacity of a 5 year old and I think throwing him in jail or a mental hospital would do no good and be (in my opinion) cruel.

It is sticky. Whos the worse off? The adult child who doesn't have any reason or the public he may harm? After all the adult looking person with the mind of a child might not understand he is being detained. Its a lifelong disability and can cost a family enormously to care for. Every program or schooling on the outside are special and costs are prohibitive.

I was walking my dog one day and me and another guy observed a fight in a backyard thru an open gate. The man that lived there was pushing someone out his gate and yelling for him to leave. It was loud enough that we came over to see whats what. One person ran off and the guy that lived there said he was sitting in his living room when this guy came thru the gate and tried to enter his house thru the screen door. The man jumped up and wrestled with him to make him leave.

So we followed the young man and found him several houses down looking thru another open gate at another house. We confronted him but he didn't say anything. Just walked away. So we followed him to another house that had the front door open this time and he started to head towards it. There were people in there.

Things were almost ugly when this young mans mother suddenly appeared and with a few calls to the man got him to follow her.

Turns out this guy is autistic and likes to go into other peoples homes... "he gets out sometimes" she says and laughingly down plays his behavior.
She had been looking for him for a while when she heard us yelling and found him. She is alone and can't afford any but to keep him at home and try to care for him herself. The guy was in his late teens early twenties or so and we didn't know or could we tell there was anything out of the ordinary except for his behavior.

posted on Aug, 7 2013 @ 10:00 PM
If I was that parent I would defend my child. I don't if the person is disabled or not. That doesn't give him the right to attack my young child who cannot defend themselves.

posted on Aug, 7 2013 @ 10:17 PM
reply to post by Domo1

I've worked with the disabled population, autistic included, and some of them are prone to violence whether it's malicious or not. They could be arrested but depending on how disabled they are chances are the arrest won't go anywhere and they'll be released.

The autistic man was with a group of disabled peers and the blame really falls onto the staff supervising them because they should have eyes on their clients at all times and should know their clients and their tendencies. For example, maybe this autistic man targets young children, for whatever reason, and shouldn't have been at the park in the first place or maybe it was some freak occurrence, but either way the staff should be on guard always and quick to intervene. Why they let the man go back into the park after he was given a citation by police is beyond me. Once again, staff failure because the group should have packed up and went back to their dayhab or house.

The man could be diagnosed mentally retarded as well, or just severely autistic, so I understand why the police didn't arrest him. Unfortunately the staff are paid low wages and sometimes aren't of the best quality, usually prone to laziness and stupidity. You get what you pay for.
edit on 7-8-2013 by Swills because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 7 2013 @ 11:29 PM

Originally posted by Domo1
I don't take issue with the man not being arrested, as the video points out he has the mental capacity of a 5 year old and I think throwing him in jail or a mental hospital would do no good and be (in my opinion) cruel.

It doesn't matter if he's an autist or not. If he's a danger to society, that means he shouldn't be in society. What if he had killed the kid? Normal innocent people shouldn't have to suffer ordeals like this just because of western political correctness.

posted on Aug, 7 2013 @ 11:36 PM

Originally posted by Phoenix267
If I was that parent I would defend my child. I don't if the person is disabled or not. That doesn't give him the right to attack my young child who cannot defend themselves.

Understandable to the first part of your statement but when you become the aggressor on a person that also cannot defend themselves (and what defines that? Just age?), how are you any better.

I guess for me it would come down to just what happened. Was my child pushed? Is that the aggression? Was my child struck? Etc, etc.

posted on Aug, 7 2013 @ 11:45 PM
reply to post by ownbestenemy

Regardless of the position you find yourself in. You would have to defend yourself and your loved ones. Other then the story who knows how to recognize if a person is mentally disabled or autistic. Sad things happen when people do ridiculous things like drinking and getting into arguments where fights start. I feel if I was a parent I would have to defend my child. Because it's both my responsibility and that I would love my child enough to defend them anyway I could.

Sorry I couldn't give a better answer, but you can see my opinion on this topic.

posted on Aug, 7 2013 @ 11:48 PM
reply to post by Phoenix267

Completely agreed. It is a great moral question and one to ponder (especially if you have kids). My first inclination would be to protect my own. This should garner attention more than the recent debacles of "cases of interest" that the news has latched onto.

posted on Aug, 8 2013 @ 12:47 AM
reply to post by Domo1

Total nightmare. I've mentioned before that I'm the mother of a child with severe autism. There are no easy answers, but I too put responsibility on the caregiver(s). In this particular case, the young man should have been removed from the situation, in my opinion, and a review put into place to determine how to handle/prevent a similar situation in the future. The point is this - if someone is a danger to themselves or others, yet is not mentally/emotionally capable themselves of being held responsible for that (or may not be able to control their actions), then others must help both that individual to be safe, and protect themselves and others in the process. Prevention, being prepared for what could happen, is key.

If people understood, really understood, how intense it can be - and how you can really not know at times what might trigger a reaction from someone with autism - I think the level of overall compassion would go up for the caregivers, and perhaps the resources needed to care for individuals with autism might be more widely considered. Resources, are extremely important, and caregivers are often unable to work due to the need to care for their child.

And if people truly understood, as I am striving to, how confusing, painful, out of control and scary the world can be if you are a person with severe autism, I think there would be equally great compassion towards members in this population. (See my signature, also, for a different view of autism, please...) These are human beings with extraordinary challenges. They have intrinsic value.

I personally know what its like to be in charge during a meltdown, and to have a younger child with me (my other son) that I must protect, as well as myself. And, if I have to, I will protect my kids Before myself - and that goes to everyone else and their kids too. I am trained in how to do this, and do not hesitate to immediately intervene if preventative measures haven't worked, or an unexpected situation arises.

There are a number of things one can do, from body blocking, to removal from the situation and giving space, to physical intervention. And sometimes I have to help prevent my boy from hurting himself, which is...beyond. Understand, while this is going on, either a melt down, aggression or self-aggresion, that my heart is breaking. I will hold it together until later, privately, in the middle of the night. I know I am doing the absolute best I can, and will willingly throw myself between my son and any possible problem. I will not, however, live forever.

So - you are right - compassion all around, and protection for those that need protecting.

Thank you for having a balanced view of the situation.
edit on 8-8-2013 by AboveBoard because: mistake

posted on Aug, 8 2013 @ 12:59 AM
Sounds like the problem will take care of itself . The state won't do anything cause it looks bad and people will just disagree about what to . He will attack someone that will kill him sooner or later .

posted on Aug, 8 2013 @ 10:09 AM

Originally posted by mythots
Sounds like the problem will take care of itself . The state won't do anything cause it looks bad and people will just disagree about what to . He will attack someone that will kill him sooner or later .

This is what I was thinking. They should have him in a secure facility if he's doing things like this, for his own protection and the protection of normal society.

If I had a three year old and this guy attacked him/her in front of me, I'd murder him with the nearest heavy blunt object. Retarded or not, I wouldn't care. Human beings evolved to protect those who we are related to, especially children. It has worked for thousands of years and I'll be damned if political correctness is going to stifle that. I doubt many people would lose sleep having to do that if it meant the life of their own kid.

posted on Aug, 8 2013 @ 10:15 AM
reply to post by Domo1

If that assaulted child were the prosecutors', today's result would definitely be up-side-down.

See~~~!! That is what I meant - what enjoyments you get having a child? If s/he is disabled, you suffer right from the beginning or is healthy, you also worry whether s/he would get attacked when s/he is out. And that couple has 12? 13? It's very personal issue and GOOD LUCK, anyway.

What's going on in this world? Disabled people assault young children; disabled patients were s-abused by ......???? How can we stop it? If we could stop it, who's gonna pay the price?

posted on Aug, 8 2013 @ 10:23 AM
American culture always focuses on the perpetrator, and pretty much ignores the victim.

Whoever is raising the young child has got some work ahead of them, maybe some trips to a therapist. If you are 5, and have been attacked by an adult.... and then everyone tells you not to be mad at the attacker because "he can't help it," you're going to have a pretty screwed up view of your own (apparently low) self-worth.

You'll probably also develop a short-to-midterm phobia of being out in public. Even with and adult to 'protect' you.

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