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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Autistic Boy Barred From Church

From USA MacPaper:

    FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A judge has upheld a restraining order barring an autistic boy from attending a northern Minnesota church. His mother said she would continue the legal fight.

    Todd County District Judge Sally Ireland Robertson said the behavior of 13-year-old Adam Race during services at the Church of St. Joseph was "repeated, unwanted and intrusive," and said the Bertha church was justified in keeping him out.

    "In determining the narrow fact and legal issues properly before it, the court has found that harassment has occurred as that term is defined in the Minnesota statute," Robertson wrote.

    Adam's mother, Carol Race, said she was disappointed and would consult an attorney before deciding her next step. She represented herself at a hearing she requested to protest the restraining order.

    "I thought it would be possible I would lose on some things, but I'm surprised that so many of the points in the judgment were based on hearsay," Race said, referring to the testimony of the Rev. Daniel Walz, the parish priest.


    In requesting the restraining order, Walz said Adam has become disruptive and dangerous to parishioners as he's grown older. The boy is more than 6 feet tall and weighs more than 225 pounds, and has nearly knocked over people, Walz wrote. The complaint said Adam makes nonverbal noises, urinates because of incontinence, and needs to be restrained by having his hands or feet bound together with fleece ties.

    Carol Race said many of those claims were exaggerated, and said Adam's distractions were not unusual.

Well...some of what I write here may upset some readers. It has been reported on local news that Adam has urinated and soiled himself while in church on more than one occasion and that other parishioners were afraid for their own safety and well-being, so I'm not sure that his mother is being truthful and honest when she says some of the claims "were exaggerated."

Look, I'm not blaming Adam, he is unable to control himself. I do think his mother is being incredibly selfish and insensitive to others, disregarding their safety, who feel threatened or afraid of what Adam can do. At over six feet in height and 225 pounds, he is a big person. He could unintentionally harm someone, especially a child or an older adult (senior citizen).

I think the judge made the right decision. There's no doubt it was not an easy decision to make.

Carol Race is considering taking her case to The Vatican. This is not The Vatican's call, it is up to the local church and legal system and they have made their decision. It's a matter of public safety for the greater good of the community that Adam not be permitted to attend this church.

It has been said that the parish priest offered to conduct a private mass for the Race family in their own home.
This is more than a reasonable offer and a fair compromise. Apparently this generous offer was declined by Mrs. Race.

Would Adam be permitted to attend PTA meetings, city council meetings, League of Women Voters meetings, a group meeting in a public library - and if so, for how long - if he exhibited the same behavior as he did in church?

I think Carol Race is making this issue her personal crusade, taking it too far. She is in this for money and/or publicity.

Again, understand that I'm not blaming Adam. But I am saying that his mother is...I'm on the verge of calling her a grandstanding and selfish b----. I cannot pretend to understand what she must go through on a daily basis with an autistic child, but she is refusing to acknowledge that others have rights too. That they have a right to feel secure and safe in their place of worship, and obviously they don't when Adam attended services.

What do you think?


I agree with you... specially when they have been offered such a good alternative...
Thank you for commenting. I agree the family was offered a fair compromise and alternative and they - in my opinon - selfishly turned it down. We shall see how far her appeal to the Vatican goes.
Man, that is a way tough call. It does seem that there would be a couple of big dudes in the church that could sit with him and help him behave though. I keep thinking that there must be something that the church could do for the boy, not his mother.

Autism is a tough call for me because I have a buddy that has a little girl with it and they are getting treatments and she has improved a thousand fold.

Dang, that's tough, but mama does sound like an asshole.
Two Dogs,

It is tough. I agree. But I don't think the church is out of line. The story said he had to be in restraints in church. Then, if the church (and I'm not trying to disregard your suggested solution, so don't take it that way)sits two big dudes next to him, and somehow the kid gets injured by them - even inadvertently and not their fault - the church and the two big dudes have a lawsuit filed against them.

It is a tough call. I think the judge and church did the right thing and it had to be a agonizing choice for them to make.

I'm happy to hear your friend's little girl is improving with treatments. That's great!

And yeah, Mrs. Race...(audible sigh)...sounds...yeah, like a bitch.
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