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An Autistic person was literally stolen by the state of Pennsylvania and is being forced against his will to be institutionalized in a state run facility.

This was initiated when he was charged with a crime he did not commit. He was arrested on the charges and not offered the opportunity to be released on bail to wait for the trial. He has a public defender who is actually not defending him. Although the public defender is currently saying the charges will be dropped, he is actually going to recommend to the court that he must remain detained in the state run institution based on his mental health diagnosis.

Eric Von Schlichten is Autistic. Autism is not a strong enough reason to keep someone institutionalized. It may have been 20 years ago, but apparently Northampton County hasn't really evolved yet.

Actually to keep him institutionalized, they had him diagnosed with more severe psychiatric conditions.

He will never be released until whenever, if ever, when they decide he is suitable to be released.

If someone doesn't help him, he could remain there for the rest of his life or until it is no longer profitable for them to keep him. Part of the problem is that the institution that is holding him is getting $657 for every day they have him.

If you take a close look at this, it should become obvious that this is not kosher for the following reasons.

They won't release in writing the documentation saying exactly what they diagnosed him with and who diagnosed him. There is no way to check the credibility of the party that diagnosed him without knowing exactly who and what that party is.

Eric Von Schlichten was attending a special education program at the Northampton County intermediate unit #20 in Palmer township PA. They were not effective in being able to teach Eric how to read. Tutoring at a learning center was working for him. The money to pay for it was coming from the county. Then they declared it was a waste of money and they stopped it.

On March 18, 2004 the staff accused him of a crime. They called the police and Eric has been stuck in the criminal justice system ever since. Eric is not guilty. Please if you look and see how his basic rights have been denied during this judicial process it would be right to conclude that the charges brought against him are false.

Eric, being autistic, was never offered bail. He was sent to jail to wait for a trial. While there the guards used pepper spray on him when there wasn't a situation to call for it. Only Eric can fill in all of the details about what was happening at the moment the guards decided to use the pepper spray. If you ask him he would say he was having an asthma or a panic attack. He remained in jail for 2 months before being sent to a group home where his circumstances are the equivalent of house arrest. The staff at the group home are psychologically abusive to him.

Eric is frustrated at the judicial actions that are wrongly being done to him. One day outside in the yard of the group home, Eric threw pebble size stones probably no bigger than a matchbox car, at the building. The staff at the group home called the police and back to jail he went. Once again, only Eric can fill in the exact details about exactly how big the stones were. The point I am trying to make is the staff at the group home is incompetent if they are going to treat a behavioral problem incident as a crime to be sent back to jail for.

Another example of psychological abuse happened on December 24, 2004. Eric is in a group home involuntarily and is being forced to stay there against his will and never ever allowed to go anywhere unsupervised. He is allowed only very minimal contact with his mother. In spite of all that, this is his home, if you can call it that. In one's home one is expected that they will use the bathroom and change their clothes every once in a while.

If I may, I would like to speculate what happened that day. The following is only my speculation.

Eric is in the middle of changing.

Staff shouts out from another room in a loud affirmative voice. "ERIC COME HERE NOW!!!!!!!!!!

If Eric does something wrong the staff uses legal terminology. That is psychological abuse. They accused him of indecent exposure in his own home. Eric was punished by reducing his visiting time with his mother on Christmas from 3 hours down to two.

I will answer any criticism that I dare speculate with some questions. Why is Eric being isolated? Why can't he have free contact with the outside world so he can say how he is being treated every day? Why is an Autistic person with a debilitating communications disability under a court order to be quiet?

Eric's mother says she has nothing in writing that clearly says if Eric is waiting for a trial that hasn't happened yet, or if he has been convicted of a crime and exactly what the sentence is.

Before you decide to help you are going to want to know exactly what Eric is accused or convicted of whichever the case may be. I honestly don't know if he is being held in state custody while waiting for a trial. If so, it is unfair to him to not let him out on bail. A good human services agency could get him out by evaluating him and declaring him safe to be in the community and say he can receive services while living at home. A judge who is following the advice of incompetent professionals is making a false assumption that because he is Autistic, he must be institutionalized indefinitely. This is what appears to be what this whole situation is about. They want to keep this Autistic person out of the community.

I am about to tell you what Eric is accused of. I would prefer that Eric tell you himself. I would like you see what happens if you try to interview him when you have permission from his mother. I think by their actions of keeping him isolated from the outside world and not allowing him to tell his side of the story shows that they have something to hide.

Here it is. I will tell you as much as I know. Don't read any further unless you will do whatever it takes to get the whole story directly from Eric. I would like to get written documentation from the court to say exactly why he is being held, but I am afraid they will arrest me too if I try to do that.

The current situation 'started' in March 2004. Eric at the time was living at home and attending school at the Northampton County Intermediate Unit #20. Eric purposely and knowingly threw grass clippings on a neighbors property. This is a neighbor who has been rude to him for a long time, by giving him the finger, and cursing at him, and making faces of anger and disgust at him whenever she saw him outside. This neighbor told Eric's mother that her son doesn't belong in the community.

For the crime of throwing grass clippings on to a neighbor's property, Eric was fined, given a suspended sentence, and placed on probation. Later that same month, in March of 2004, while he was attending the special education program at the intermediate unit, the staff accused Eric of a crime and called the police to report it. Based on this accusation alone, Eric was sent to jail to serve his suspended sentence for the crime of throwing grass clippings onto the neighbor's property. He remained in jail for 2 months and then sent to a group home to serve the remainder of the sentence.

The crime that Eric is accused of doing in March 2004, while at school, was doing something intimate with a female classmate who is also developmental disabled. If two students did exactly the same thing in a non specialized school program, this most likely wouldn't happen, although anything is possible.

When you try to inquire about why Eric is being held in state custody, the answer you will get is that he has been convicted. Yes, he had to serve his suspended sentence for the grass clippings incident. He got another jail sentence for throwing pebbles at the group home. He served one month of that sentence in jail and then returned to the group home where he remains today. There is no clear written documentation that says he was convicted of the crime the intermediate unit is accusing him of. He is now either being held in custody to wait for a trial without a bail release, or they are institutionalizing him for the crime of being Autistic.

The girl is the same age as Eric, and also a legal adult at the time of the incident. The public defender told Eric's mother that he believes Eric is not guilty of a sexual crime and that it was consentual, but still will not do anything because he believes Autistic people should be institutionalized and kept out of the community.

The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare is the one place to contact who should have the power to release Eric and get him into more appropriate day services. The DPW is supposed to be responsible for dispensing disciplinary action against the agencies that caused and prolonged this situation. The DPW needs to initiate an investigation on a prejudice judge who ignores mistreatment Eric Von Schlichten has received, and punishes him when he didn't commit a crime. Estelle B. Richman is the secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare and should be accountable for ignoring this and allowing this to continue.

The DPW is responsible for enforcing that local county agencies protect the civil rights of people with disabilities as covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. If the DPW will not protect Eric, then this matter needs to be taken to the federal level. The DPW receives federal money from the United States of America. If the DPW expects to receive federal money then they should be protecting the civil rights of Autistic people.

There needs to be specific federal laws to protect the civil rights of developmentally disabled adults. It needs to be specified that a specific amount of federal money will be used specifically for the sole purpose of protecting the civil rights of developmentally disabled adults.

I don't know why he is being held in state custody. When I ask for an answer, I am told it is an ongoing police investigation and therefore cannot be commented on. If he is being held on the result of a conviction then why wasn't he given a fair trial by being allowed to testify. If he is awaiting a trial then why is he being held without bail. The court has a way of dragging things on by declaring him unfit to stand trial and prolonging his incarnation indefinitely. They say this is perfectly legal and this commonly happens to other people. This means nothing because slavery used to be legal in this country. If this is legal and they can get away with treating him this way, then the Americans with disabilities act is a worthless piece of bullshit.




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