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Charges Mulled for Writer Who Told Family to Euthanize Autistic Boy

09-Sep-2013

In an appalling show of hatred and intolerance, a neighbor slipped a note under a door, telling residents that they should euthanize the 13-year-old autistic boy who stayed there. Now, police are considering criminal charges against the writer of the hateful note.

The story made international headlines when Canadian mother Kara Begley went public with the note, which referred to her autistic son, Max, as a "wild animal" that should be killed and his body parts donated to science.

The note was slipped anonymously under the door of Max's grandmother's house, where the boy was staying. Although the vitriol does not directly threaten Max, it boldly states that the writer considers him a "nuisance" who is not of any use to anyone, and that he would be better off dead. The writer, who calls herself "one pissed off mother," says that she "hate[s]" the parents who allow their autistic child to play outside in a residential neighborhood, accusing them of wanting special treatment because of their special needs child. 

Read the full text of the letter at the end of this post.

Canadian police say they are investigating potential crimes with which the writer may be charged, but they say the letter, though hate-filled, does not constitute a hate crime.

What is a hate crime then? Canadian law may differ from United States federal law, and Oklahoma has its own prescribed definition of hate crimes in the state statutes.

Oklahoma's hate crime statute (21 O.S. § 850) deals with "Malicious Harassment Based on Race, Color, Religion, Ancestry, National Origin, Disability": 

A. No person shall maliciously and with the specific intent to intimidate or harass another person because of that person's race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin or disability: 

  1. Assault or batter another person; 
  2. Damage, destroy, vandalize or deface any real or personal property of another person; or 
  3. Threaten, by word or act, to do any act prohibited by paragraph 1 or 2 of this subsection if there is reasonable cause to believe that such act will occur. 

B. No person shall maliciously and with specific intent to incite or produce, and which is likely to incite or produce, imminent violence, which violence would be directed against another person because of that person's race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin or disability, make or transmit, cause or allow to be transmitted, any telephonic, computerized, or electronic message. 

C. No person shall maliciously and with specific intent to incite or produce, and which is likely to incite or produce, imminent violence, which violence would be directed against another person because of that person's race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin or disability, broadcast, publish, or distribute, cause or allow to be broadcast, published or distributed, any message or material. 

D. Any person convicted of violating any provision of subsections A, B or C of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor on a first offense and a felony punishable by not more than ten (10) years incarceration in the custody of the Department of Corrections for a second or subsequent offense. The fine for a felony violation of this section shall not exceed Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00). Furthermore, said person shall be civilly liable for any damages resulting from any violation of this section.

Although this letter was filled with despicable suggestions and unfathomable hatred for a young boy based on his disability, it does fall short of state hate crimes guidelines. While it says that the family should euthanize the boy, the writer does not personally threaten harm. State harrassment statutes also point to the repeated nature of harrassment, and thus, since this letter appears to be a one-off, it seems unlikely that it could be charged as such under current state legislation.

Remember--this event did not occur in Oklahoma, and therefore would not be subject to prosecution as described above. Canadian officials are still looking for a way to prosecute the offensive writer, if indeed any crimes were committed.

Full Text of Letter to Mother of Autistic Boy

To the lady living at this address: 

I also live in this neighborhood and have a problem!!! You have a kid that is mentally handicapped and you consciously decided that it would be a good idea to live in a close proximity neighborhood like this???? You selfishly put your kid outside everyday and let him be a nothing but a nuisance and a problem to everyone else with that noise polluting whaling he constantly makes!!! That noise he makes when he is outside is DREADFUL!!!!!!!!!! It scares the hell out of my normal children!!!!!!! When you feel your idiot kid needs fresh air, take him to our park you dope!!! We have a nature trail!! Let him run around those places and make noise!!!!!! Crying babies, music and even barking dogs are normal sounds in a residential neighborhood!!!!! He is NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

He is a hindrance to everyone and will always be that way!!!!! Who the hell is going to care for him?????? No employer will hire him, no normal girl is going to marry/love him and you are not going to live forever!! Personally, they should take whatever non retarded body parts he possesses and donate it to science. What the hell else good is he to anyone!!! You had a retarded kid, deal with it…properly!!!!! What right do you have to do this to hard working people!!!!!!! I HATE people like you who believe, just because you have a special needs kid, you are entitled to special treatment!!! GOD!!!!!! 

Do everyone in our community huge a favor and MOVE!!!! VAMOSE!!! SCRAM!!!! Move away and get out of this type of neighborhood setting!!! Go live in a trailer in the woods or something with your wild animal kid!!! Nobody wants you living here and they don’t have the guts to tell you!!!!! 

Do the right thing and move or euthanize him!!! Either way, we are ALL better off!!! 

Sincerely, 

One pissed off mother!!!!!



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