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16-Year-Old Autistic Teenager Kidnapped, Robbed, Violently Assaulted

16-Year-Old Autistic Teenager Kidnapped, Robbed, Violently Assaulted

A 16-year-old St. Paul boy was kidnapped, assaulted, robbed, and shot at with a BB gun before his assailants let him go. The boy is on the autism spectrum and, as reported in the January 14th St. Paul Pioneer Press, had been ‘led away from a trip to the supermarket by a friendly face.’ Five people, including two teenagers, have been arrested.

Individuals on the autism spectrum often have difficulties in social situations and social cues and in making and maintaining friendships. These difficulties are exacerbated for adolescents and teenagers, especially in a setting like high school. In this case, it seems that the perpetrators took advantage of the teenager’s disability, exploiting his wanting to have friendships.

The full account from the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

According to a criminal complaint, the victim was walking alone to the Cub Foods store at the Sun Ray shopping center in St. Paul on Dec. 23 when he ran into the first juvenile, identified only as “M.D.C.,” who was “acting very friendly toward him” and “asked him to hang out.” The boy agreed.

The pair met up with four others and walked together to a deserted space close to Conway Recreational Center. At that point, the five closed in on the boy, pushed him to the ground and handcuffed him. One then pulled out a gun, the boy told police.

They took his money, CD player, headphones, camera, cell phone and bottle of ginger ale — all the while telling him they knew where he lived and would “return and hurt him and his family.”

But it wasn’t over, the complaint says. The group then pushed him against a wall, punched him in the chest and stomach, then shoved him face-first into the snow and told him to stay there.

The man with the gun then put the weapon against the victim’s head and pulled the trigger.

“The impact of the BB hurt,” the complaint states. “Up until he was shot with the BB gun, he thought the gun was a real gun and he thought he would die.”

The man with the gun then shot the victim again, in the cheek.

After a few more threats to the boy’s family, the group then reportedly “made the victim run around in circles and laugh out loud” before they let him go, the complaint says.

Anthony Ramos, 24, his reported girlfriend, Tiffany Clock, 21, Trenton Johnson, 22, of St. Paul, and two juveniles (whose names have not been released due to their age) have been arrested. 

My friend Emily, who has a son on the autism spectrum, has started an anti-bullying advocacy program, End the Bullying. She has written frankly about her son’s horrendous experiences being bullied at a public school in Texas, about other children who have been terribly bullied (and have, in some cases, taken their own lives). She provides a 3-point roadmap to end bullying and an extensive list of resources, with an emphasis on books and other materials that address the issues kids on the autism spectrum face.

The violence against the 16-year-old didn’t happen in school. But how can we teach and help kids like him both to better navigate the chaos of society, and to protect themselves? 

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Photo by Firesam!.

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142 comments

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8:30PM PST on Feb 23, 2011

The boys who did this are beyond help. They exhibit an amoral behavior and cruelty beyond belief. What kind of homes did they come from -- it's scary that such are out there. As for the autistic child, with all his problems to begin with, I can't imagine how he will be rehabilitated to ever trust again. So very sorry for him, and I hope the PUNISHMENT, NOT PROBATION, is very strenuous.

4:47PM PST on Jan 26, 2011

A pac of wolves would have been safer.. these boys/men all need jail time/prison..I don't care how old they all are. They had to know it was wrong and if not then they need to be locked in a place they will learn how to live in society.

2:31PM PST on Jan 26, 2011

I hope the people did this (at their age I don't think of them as "children" but young adults) should be severely punished. They knew exactly what they are doing, and it seems to me that they must have planned it.

6:19PM PST on Jan 25, 2011

Wow, I can't believe I'm now of that age bracket where I can say 'Kids these days...' and mean it. I'm glad I don't have children.

11:38PM PST on Jan 24, 2011

Just Curious, Does bashing those involved without knowing the exact circumstances, or anything about the individuals involved make you any better? You are lowering youself to the same level of those you refer to as "scum". That is a very immature way to react to the situation. In a sense, you too, are a bully. Just saying...

11:46PM PST on Jan 21, 2011

My son has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism labeled "high functioning". What a laugh.

Yes he is extremely intelligent, he can actually maintain a semblance of a friendship, he can get around town and feed and clothe himself. Unfortunately, he will probably never hold a job, have a relationship with a woman or a family of his own, or be able to live by himself.

He was tortured when he was in elementary school, so he became the bully. He would never be the type of bully that assaulted this poor boy. In fact, he would have beaten the crap out of the perpetrators had he happened upon this incident. He simply became extremely angry, and put out a persistent "Don't mess with me or you will regret it!" aura.

He is now 26, and doing better thanks to years of family behavioral therapy, but I shake inside for this poor boy and his family. As so many parents have said here, all you want is for your child to experience friendship and some happiness, and being so hurt by others is your worst fear as a parent.

All my love and compassion to the boy and his family. I pray that he will heal, and find a friend. My son did.

Nothing bad enough can be done to the perpetrators. They are scum. They are worthless. They are soulless piles of excrement. Anyone who could partake in hurting and humiliating a handicapped child is morally and emotionally bankrupt. How can walking filth be punished? They will never feel empathy. Lock them up forever, together.

4:30PM PST on Jan 21, 2011

How awful! Put all of them away for life!

7:32AM PST on Jan 19, 2011

This is so disturbing to me. I am a parent of an autistic 7 yr. old boy and this has always been my worst fear. Children can be cruel and apparantly adults as well. These peole should be punished and not given a slap on the wrist with a warning. Which is probably what is going to happen. And i really wish eeryone would stop making exscuses for people. We are all responsible for ourselves, we make the choices we make in life and 7unfortunately these people made the wrong choices, regardless of their age. It is a disgrace to abuse anyone especially someone with a disability.

I feel sorry for Cassie and her family because they to are victims. Your brother made a very bad choice and now he needs to be punished. He is 24.

Very disturbed by this.

1:47AM PST on Jan 19, 2011

This was a hate crime and needs to be punished severely.

1:27AM PST on Jan 19, 2011

The punishment ought to be harsher for targeting a handicapped person. If they can't be big enough to pick on someone their own capacity or larger, and then gang up on a weaker person, they are cowards and don't deserve mercy.

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