Friday, June 17, 2011

Edmonton Father Guilty of (Severely) Abusing Autistic Son

A 59 year old Edmonton father has been found guilty of abusing his autistic son. He was convicted of unlawful confinement, failing to provide the necessaries of life, assault with a weapon and assault. Alexandra Zabjek of the Edmonton Journal reports that the son's situation came to the attention of police when his two older sisters returned home to visit after having left the family home a few years earlier. They found him unresponsive, emaciated and chained in a room with a urine soaked mattress.
"Police officers, paramedics, and an emergency room doctor who treated the teenager told court during the trial that he looked "like a concentration camp victim."Court heard the teenager weighed 86 pounds when he arrived at the Glenrose Hospital for rehabilitation. He was five-feet, seven-inches tall. His muscles had atrophied, he suffered from bed sores, and his arms and legs were stuck in a curled-up position. He couldn't initially stand. The teenager gained 10 pounds in the five days immediately after he was taken into care, court heard."
The Edmonton Journal also reports that the man testified in his own defence and claimed that he locked his son in the room because of " episodes and reactions to his mother". The man also denied specific allegations brought by the sisters that he had hit his son with a coat hanger and a shoe. He testified the son received three meals a day. Obviously the son's condition was the most powerful evidence, evidence that spoke for itself, irrefutable evidence of abuse.
What the Edmonton Journal article does not mention is whether the man testified about why he and his wife  kept his autistic son in their home when they could not properly care for him.

Why keep their son in their home while he deteriorated in front of their eyes instead of asking the Province to take care of him or to provide help in taking care of him?


Shannon said...

"Why keep their son in their home while he deteriorated in front of their eyes instead of asking the Province to take care of him or to provide help in taking care of him?"

I wonder the same thing myself. Trudy Steuernagel kept her son Sky at home long after he became violent toward her, and it cost her her life - because she didn't want him institutionalized. Maybe these parents felt the same way, had been turned down for services or didn't know help was even available.

It also looks as if they had become afraid of him.

I'm not making excuses for them - they handled this horribly. I'm trying to understand how things had to get so utterly out of control in order for anything to be done.

Mom on a Mission said...

All I can say is Thank God for the sisters... what would have happened if they had not come home? I shudder to think how this child is reconciling everything that has happened to him. An incredibly sad situation. If this doesn't underscore New Brunswick's need for an adult residential care facility, I don't know what does!

Adrianna said...

I think part of the reason is because some parents see institutionalization as a personal failure on their part. Ultimately, it is your duty as a parent to care for your children, and if that means swallowing your pride, you need to do that!

Mommie that Gets It said...

My GOD! That poor boy! :(