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Friday, March 20, 2015

Autistic Virginians are Being Labeled Violent Sex Offenders for Life with No Consideration of Their Mental Diagnosis, Their IQ or Their Social Age Compared to Their Chronological Age

 
In the last 7 years of advocating I have been contacted by at least 12 other parents of Autistic children who are listed on the VSP Registry as Violent Offenders. Below is the latest notice I’ve received from a parent of a 25 year old Virginia male who has Asperger’s Syndrome. 

I’ve posted about RSO’s with autism in the past.
 
Citizens who have been diagnosed with Autism have representation/advocates at the annual Virginia General Assembly every year for therapies, schooling, insurance and new resources but NO ONE EVER discusses what happens when Autistic Virginians are swept up by our criminal or judicial system. No one is concerned about them surviving incarceration, abiding by the rules of VADOC Probation or what a lifetime on the VSP Registry as a Violent Sex Offender really means to them or their family members who look after them.

If anyone has “fallen through the cracks” ( a favorite phrase by many Virginia Legislators and crime victims) in our State it is citizens with Autism who are interrogated, charged, convicted and incarcerated while EVERYONE involved turns a blind eye to their disability and mental capabilities treating them as if they had criminal intent when they did not. 

When our elected officials are raising the punishments, lowering the burden of proof or refusing to add an age gap allowance to proposed bills they need to know that their “rewrites” of Virginia Code is actually sweeping up low IQ, mentally incapable and Autistic citizens who pose no threat to society as Lifetime Violent Sex Offenders in the Commonwealth.  

Mary Devoy
 

We have a 25yr old (RSO since 2011) son who is intellectually disabled (Autism: Asperger’s Syndrome) since birth who is registered as a Violent Sex Offender (no violence ever took place).  Our nightmare is below:

Background on our son:  Our son was born on ______ 1990, there was difficulty during birth, the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck and cut of oxygen to the brain.  Age six, he was diagnosed as "Developmentally Delayed" while attending school.  Age eight, diagnosis changed to "Autistic" by the Autism Expert employed by the Loudoun County School.  He received Special Education services for his entire time in the school system.  He received a high school diploma but, we have recently discovered that he did not achieve the state requirements for a regular high school diploma but was given one anyway.  He has an extremely low IQ (75-81), margin of error +/- 9.  Additionally, his Psychological evaluation at age 18 indicated "he was not ready for the adult world."  I think it is safe to assume his mental age was not at his chronological age. 
 

Our son was arrested in Loudoun County, VA on 26 Mar 10, for Aggravated Sexual Battery.  Within 30 seconds of applying the handcuffs, I told the arresting officer he was Autistic, he had a lawyer, and do not ask him any questions.  We are his advocates and we were not allowed to be involved any where in the process that followed.