Topic

autism

90 petitions

Update posted 5 days ago

Petition to Andrew M. Cuomo, New York State House, New York State Senate, Sue Serino, Didi Barrett, Carl Heastie, Jeffrey Dinowitz, Aileen Gunther, Angelo Santabarbara, Latoya Joyner, James Skoufis, Charles E. Schumer, Kirsten E. Gillibrand, John F. Kennedy, John Lewis, Paul Tonko

Bailey’s Law- Hold criminals accountable for deaths of intentionally victimized disabled

 Please Support the Passage of #BaileysLaw We cannot allow criminals to get away with the death of their victims, especially our disabled loved ones. 1-30-19 Update: The court went forward last night with the golden plea deal for Teator- reduced charges, 3 years probation, $216 restitution to the bank, and the gift of wiping out her completely unrelated charges in a totally separate court. No community service and the Ulster County DA filed a motion to prohibit restitution to my family to reimburse for mental health costs, classifying us a “third party”- so family restitution was denied. I’m outraged! This is NOT JUSTICE or a deterrent for INTENTIONALLY victimizing an autistic 19 year old whereby the crime directly led to his death. The case for the second defendant hasn’t even begun yet. Please, please, help me fix this- Bailey’s story is NOT the first and won’t be the last unless we fix this by passing Bailey’s Law.  OUR STORY On 7-31-17 my 19 year old dependent autistic son, Bailey, resorted to suicide 7 days after being victimized in a financial scam, 4 days after I realized he was victimized, and less than 5 hours after being asked by police to ID one of the perpetrators-  it was my birthday of all days. After nearly 20 years of complete family devotion and cultivating our lives in support, contemplation and preparation of his each new life phase, new stage, new challenge, and new triumph our lives were completely and irrevocably upended in the span of 8 minutes. There are no words for how devastating this experience is, still. Bailey had many friends. He was kind, funny, caring, generous, gentle, down to earth, and creative. He was an artist, a lover of history, and had compassion for all living things. He was a teacher his whole life as much as he was a student of it. Bailey made me stronger, made me determined, made me timely, made me adjustable, made me more understanding...and it was Bailey that made me an advocate for kids with special needs for all these years. Of course, his 3 siblings also helped make me, and him, over the years...we all made each other. Our family has always been very tight. Being a single mom the last 16 years enabled me to make my children my world, and show them we are a team. I’ve tried to give them everything I am and everything I have within me, with intention. But despite everything I’d, we’d, put in over the years my son, their brother, is gone...less then 8 minutes after leaving my side. Bailey resorted to suicide 7 days after being a victim of a financial crime, 4 days after I realized he was victimized, and less than 5 hours of being asked to ID one of the perpetrators. He was preyed upon, betrayed, and taken advantage of by a girl he knew for years and had recently befriended him. This girl connected her male friend to my son under the guise of helping them cash a check. From what I’ve been told by State Police, Bailey was hesitant to help them, unsure of whether or not the request was legitimate, and she assured my son that the request was fine and then promised him, I believe, $200 from the proceeds for his assistance. I suspect Bailey provided them with his bank card and his PIN number. On 7-24-17 the male deposited a $1675.00 fraudulent check at an atm in Highland, NY and then immediately withdrew $200 (the amount fronted with a check hold); this was caught on atm bank video. I realized there was a problem on Thursday the 27th when I noted on our joint account both the deposit and withdrawal as well as the $200 withdrawal ultimately being pulled from my separate account. Bailey was learning banking and I would transfer his disability money to the joint account so he would learn about money management, budgeting, grocery shopping, etc. Bailey was devastated over the loss. We connected with local police on the 27th, who then directed us to the nearest state troopers on the 28th, who in turn directed us to State Troopers in Highland on 7-29-17 where we filed a complaint. Later on that Saturday, my youngest son told me he overheard his brother Bailey on the phone after hearing of the banking problem on Thursday, extremely upset over the financial loss and insisting on the return of funds. On Monday, 7-31-17 the investigator came to our house at 12:30 to see if Bailey could ID the male in the bank video. Bailey claimed he did not know the person and by his reaction I believe he didn’t. At 5:16pm he left our home stating he was going for a walk to draw; this was not unlike him as his executive processing speed is slower than many and he’d use walks or drawing to manage stresses. By 5:30 I heard the emergency response sirens and ran down our street, because I never wanted my kids around the chaos when EMS was in the area, and of course I wanted to count the safety of my chicks. The area they were responding to is a nuisance area that has had more than it’s fair share of fires....but there was no fire truck, only medical response. My son had hung himself in the woods less than a block from our home. The next day I was presented with a note he’d written; he clearly believed he’d done something very wrong in trusting the wrong person. No law enforcement involved in this case believes that Bailey had the faculty to understand what was happening, or the complexities that he was a victim, and neither does any of his family nor his longstanding therapist. There is no doubt in my mind that he merely thought he was helping someone. Both accused, at this point, will only be charged minimally; one with grand larceny 4th and the other with Endangering a disabled person 1st, both class E non violent felonies. Theoretically they could each get probation. They have each since been arrested for other crimes; her on drug charges in October 2017 and him for killing a 16 year old with his car after an argument in Yonkers in December 2017. The male is being held without bail in Westchester and has yet to be charged for our case. The female was arrested and arraigned for this case but was granted release on $2000 cash/$4000 bond. I am sickened over what may be obvious to you at this point, that the charges do not reflect their role in the death of my son. People with disabilities, including autism, are among our most vulnerable community members. It seems so unjust that a charge of endangering specifically relates to affecting the mental well-being of a vulnerable person yet they are not charged with the actual consequences of this criminal action. I’m currently working with our local representatives to start the process of pushing for new legislation in the state to hold perpetrators fully accountable for the consequences of their actions. The law for Endangering in NY currently states: “Under our law, a person is guilty of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the First Degree when he or she knowingly acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a person who is unable to care for himself or herself because of physical disability, mental disease or defect. The term "knowingly” has its own special meaning in our law. I will now give you the meaning of that term. A person KNOWINGLY acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a person who is unable to care for himself or herself because of physical disability, mental disease or defect when that person is aware that he or she is acting in such manner. Actual harm to the incompetent or physically disabled person need not result.” Currently under our criminal laws culpability for a persons suicide rests on the aspect of “aiding and abetting”, or, in practical terms, specifically aiding, directing or encouraging the suicide. This MUST change. Those that would intentionally cultivate an environment and/or circumstances specifically to use people with disabilities to commit a crime, need to be held accountable for the full range of actual damages they cause, including the death of their victim. We need #BaileysLaw to firmly establish... If a defendant is charged with endangering in the first degree, or another crime related and/or connected to a charge of endangering in the first degree (as in coconspirators/codefendant), whereby the events result in the victim’s suicide within reasonable proximity of the crime, defendants should be criminally charged for the victim’s death. This area of law, as it specifically relates to endangering, also needs to be updated to incorporate the disability standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Social Security Administration in trials. As it stands, the question of a successful trial seems tied to whether or not the victim has an IQ over 40, and can dress and feed oneself. This is an extremely low threshold for a successful trial against a perpetrator charged with endangering and is not in line with current state and federal laws to protect the disabled. There are an enormous number of people with autism, and other disabilities, who have a high IQ and can feed and clothe themselves but cannot fully meet their own needs in a manner that could be characterized as independent living. Bailey’s Law should protect anyone that can be considered a vulnerable person by including the state and federal standards of disability.   I urge you to support Bailey’s Law. It will not help my family but it will help many others. PLEASE, sign this petition to help me get it passed!  To view or VOTE YES on the #BaileysLaw bill (NY S.8541) you can visit https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2017/s8541  - there is a link at this location for the identical Assembly version as well. To learn more about my beloved Bailey you can visit the guestbook at https://m.legacy.com/obituaries/poughkeepsiejournal/obituary.aspx?n=&pid=186269333&referrer=0&preview=True To follow our journey, visit https://www.facebook.com/BaileysBridges/ https://m.facebook.com/DearBaileyLoveMom/ & http://BaileysBridges.org/baileyslaw/ Sincerely, Gae Marie Cannon, Poughkeepsie, NY *6-17-18 Update: Our bill for Bailey’s Law passed in the NY Senate on 6-11-18 with a vote of 44/17. The bill is now in the NY Assembly (A.10874) and I’m pushing to have it passed before the end of the legislative session on 6-20-18.  The Ulster County Court has declined to take on the female’s case (the facilitator of this crime), and referred it back to the Town Court. This means that HER CHARGES WILL BE REDUCED from felony to misdemeanor or less- because Town Courts CANNOT process felonies. It is looking more and more like she will get 3 years of probation... To put this into context- a DWI, WITHOUT LOSS OF LIFE, can result in 3 years probation, over $1000 fine and revocation of drivers license...  I am disgusted.... these people KNEW they were committing a crime. KNEW they were targeting someone with a disability, and their actions resulted in the DEATH of their victim......  Please, please share our petition... This is just not right..  Targeting our vulnerable loved ones breaks a sacred social contract in our society and we must prevent this from happening to someone else...  8-15-18 Update: Our bill for Bailey’s Law is currently stuck in the Codes Committee of the Assembly but I am pushing forward with public support signatures as well as organizational and legislator support. Our bill now has 4 Assembly sponsors: Didi Barrett, Christine Pellegrino, Angelo Santabarbara, and David McDonough. This is immensely helpful but until this bill passes in the Assembly and is signed by Andrew Cuomo, we cannot stop pushing for more bill support.  Our next court hearing for the female’s case is on August 28th. It’s expected she will be offered a plea bargain of a reduced charge (felony Endangering in the 1st to misdemeanor Endangering) with a sentence of 3 years probation. THIS IS NOT JUSTICE FOR AN INTENTIONAL CRIME THAT RESULTED IN DEATH.  The male has not yet been brought up to our county for arraignment; he is still pending trial for Murder 2 in Westchester County in an unrelated case.  9-21-18 Update: Our last court appearance for Teator did not go as expected, thankfully. But know I have no idea what’s going to happen. Our next court date is Tuesday, 9-25-18. See update for more details.  12-5-18 Update: The court is moving forward with the golden plea deal for Teator- reduced charges, 3 years probation, and the gift of wiping out her completely unrelated charges in a totally separate court. The Thompson case has not started yet... I’m outraged. This is NOT JUSTICE or a deterrent for INTENTIONALLY victimizing an autistic 19 year old whereby the crime directly led to his death. Please, please, help me fix this so our story doesn’t become someone else’s.  1-30-19 Update: The court went forward last night with the golden plea deal for Teator- reduced charges, 3 years probation, $216 restitution to the bank, and the gift of wiping out her completely unrelated charges in a totally separate court. No community service and the Ulster County DA filed a motion to prohibit restitution to my family to reimburse for mental health costs, classifying us a “third party”- so family restitution was denied. I’m outraged! This is NOT JUSTICE or a deterrent for INTENTIONALLY victimizing an autistic 19 year old whereby the crime directly led to his death. The case for the second defendant hasn’t even begun yet. Please, please, help me fix this- Bailey’s story is NOT the first and won’t be the last unless we fix this by passing Bailey’s Law.  2-10-19 Update: 9 days after the plea bargain was signed and ordered in our case, Teator was arraigned in another local court on similar misdemeanor charges. Ulster County had access to know these additional charges were pending and gave her that ridiculous plea deal anyway.  What you can do to help:1. SHARE the petition and Bailey’s story, in person and online2. Go to our website and print free flyers for local venues and local bulletin boards in your town, and deliver them to all the neighbors on your street 3. Call agencies that support the disabled and/or elderly and ask them to join our coalition of support. You can give them the website address as a contact.                    4. Call your representatives, wherever you live, and tell them we need #BaileysLaw.5. Stay informed. The blood and guts of this journey is on our Facebook page Dear Bailey. Thank you so much for your support, your caring messages (yes, I read them all), and I hope you’ll stay with me through this process of fixing the law. With gratitude, Gae Marie 

Gae Marie Cannon - A Mourning Mom
19,317 supporters
Started 2 weeks ago

Petition to Donald J. Trump

Me Meeting The President To Discuss Autism Awareness

Politics aside i would like to meet the president in person to discuss about Autism Awareness and how we can support the Autism Community. First,a little bit about me. I was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism at age 4 and all my life I’ve had challenges. When I was in my teenage years I was depressed, always doubtful, didn’t believe in myself, and was lost. But once I became more self aware and started researching about Autism and learning so many things, I became proud of who I am and now want to spread awareness of my community to the world through music and movies, because those 2 things helped me get through life and helped me dream. Now, I am about to graduate and probably go to college later on and try to get into filming so one day I can be the first Autistic Director. Recently I have noticed something over these past few years; Autism isn’t being acknowledged and respected enough through media nowadays. In fact, 1 in 59 kids/teens are diagnosed with Autism and the percentage is increasing each year. I'm considered to have High Functioning Autism and sadly the media never shows our side especially teens with Autism. They only show the other side of the spectrum and the spectrum isn't a “one sided disorder”. Each and every individual with Autism is unique and different but the media portrays us as the same. We are being discriminated by bullies, misinformed people, and the media. I also discovered that on Youtube and in my school a lot of people use the term “Autistic” as the word ‘Stupid’, so whenever someone does something that isn't right they would usually say “wow that's so Autistic haha!”  and some would even make fun of the disorder without them even knowing that I myself have Autism and it's sad to see people making fun of the disorder you have. Another thing is that Autism Awareness Month isn't being acknowledged as much as the other famous months like Pride Month and Black History Month. I am not saying we should be better than them but we should get the same love and acknowledgement like the others. 

Chris Merkel
280 supporters
Update posted 2 weeks ago

Petition to Governor Terry McAuliffe, Governor Ralph Northam

Decriminalize Autism and Save Drew

Our son, Drew Harrison, has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and is currently serving three active years of a 50-year prison sentence. Drew’s Autism was not taken into consideration at trial or sentencing. We are petitioning Governor McAuliffe to grant Drew a pardon. Drew reconnected with a woman he had dated in high school. The evening before inviting him to her apartment she shared her interest in BDSM, submissive sex. She told Drew that her boyfriend was too tired after work to please her sexually. Upon arrival she laid a blanket on the floor, she allowed him to massage her shoulders and feet, she showed him her semi-nude, erotic photos of herself and engaged in sexualized talk. In the bedroom he easily removed her shirt and pants. Drew gave the woman oral sex and put a finger in her vagina. When she told him to stop he stopped. The two of them texted and emailed back and forth hundreds of times post event. They even got together a few times. On one occasion they went to a bookstore where she pointed out an erotic BDSM book for Drew to buy. Six months after the evening in her apartment she reported to the police that the contact in her bedroom was nonconsensual. Those with ASD typically have a strike or two against them when entering a courtroom. The pace of questioning often exceeds their ability to process everything that is heard. Their high anxiety and repetitive statements can be mistaken as indicators of deception or guilt. Without an understanding of their unique way of processing information and their difficulty expressing anger appropriately a court can easily question credibility and reach a faulty conclusion.  Drew’s therapist testified that Drew has a strong desire to please, that he has learned to fake well in order to fit in. The judge interpreted this as our son’s ability to be deceitful and he used it as part of the reason for convicting Drew. He never asked the autism experts in the courtroom for clarification regarding Drew’s social and communication deficits.  In a letter presented to the judge Drew’s probation officer noted that Drew complied with all probation conditions for over two years. She stated that if this were a regular case without the appeal process she would request early release from probation. She added that Drew passed the state-issued polygraph without deception. Results were consistent with the not guilty plea Drew has maintained from the beginning.      The judge stated that he didn’t view Drew as a threat to the community or the woman. He emphasized that he was sending Drew to prison as a general deterrence to others because that is what the community would want him to do. Drew’s therapists are convinced that Drew is innocent of the crime for which he was convicted. They warned the court that incarceration would be torture for our son. In prison Drew suffered a break down after abrupt medication changes and being moved from isolation into general population. To deaden his senses from loud clanging doors, the bright buzzing lights and the chatter of inmates Drew often wears ear plugs and wraps a shirt around his head. He struggles to navigate the unwritten rules of inmates. Drew lives in fear and overwhelm. He begs us, “Please get me out of here”. Prison visits are bittersweet. We are grateful to spend time with our son, but heartbroken as we see him deteriorate. We are asking Governor McAuliffe to grant Drew a pardon. We ask for your support by signing this petition. My blog savedrew.com gives additional details and excerpts from transcripts. It shows the considerable reasonable doubt and injustice.  Thank you, Judy and John Harrison       

Judy (Jude) Harrison
6,444 supporters
Started 4 weeks ago

Petition to Earl L. "Buddy" Carter, Bryan County Board of Education, Mayor Russ Carpenter

Help FRIENDS get an affordable and appropriate space from Bryan County for summer camp!

FRIENDS of Coastal Georgia provides a social skills summer camp and community based services for individuals with special needs in OUR community. FRIENDS has been met with resistance by the Bryan County Board of Education regarding providing appropriate and affordable space for our children with different abilities. We received an email by the superintendent saying that they would consider renting us space (trailers behind community ed) for $19,000 for approximately 28 days compared to $2800 we have paid the past four years for the same space. We have sent countless emails and requested to meet with them in person, all requests have been ignored. This is ridiculous! There is no where for our kids to go if FRIENDS does not find a home. This battle CANNOT be fought alone! We need your help and support to fight for your children. We have been told that Community Education is expanding their programs to offer more for neuro-typical children which leaves no space for our children and they are making no plans to accommodate children with different abilities within their programs. Maranda Porter have worked and fought hard for years to create FRIENDS and it can't die. FRIENDS has been in Richmond Hill for 3 years, accommodating more than 30 children each summer. Help FRIENDS help your children get what they need in our community! We need to show the board, town, and county that our programs are essential to our community!

Emily Williams
500 supporters