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Letter targeting autistic teen not a hate crime: police

Max Begley, 13, has autism. His grandmother received an anonymous letter calling him a "nuisance," among other things. CITYNEWS.

An anonymous letter that suggested an autistic teen should be “euthanized” among other things does not meet the threshold of a hate crime, Durham regional police said Tuesday.

However, charges could still be laid as police continue their investigation.

“Despite the hateful language used, the Crown Attorney’s office has advised that the content of the letter falls below the threshold for a hate crime,” police said in a statement on Tuesday.

Max Begley, 13, of Oshawa is autistic. He spends his summer days at his grandmother’s Newcastle home while his mother works. The letter by an anonymous mother, which suggested his organs should be donated to “unretarded” children, was dropped off at her home on Friday.

Despite the tone of the letter, Max and his family have found support online – and from all over the world. Colleen Plunkett, a New York woman, has created a Facebook group for Max’s grandmother, Brenda Millson, and the boy’s mother, Karla.

The group “We Support the Grandma who got mean letter from “neighbor“” has more than 550 members just hours after it was created Tuesday.

The story has touched a chord with parents across the world, with hundreds of thousands of people viewing the original story and writing in to CityNews to show their support to the family.

“What kind of heartless person says something like that? Maybe someone should call the writer’s parenting into question,” Bluerose33 wrote on CityNews.ca.

“I am also the mother of a son with autism, and cannot fathom anyone being so simple minded, hateful, and cruel as to say the things in that letter.”

Another woman, Amy Miller, wrote that people who support Max and his family should ignore the person who wrote the letter.

Do not confront this letter writer or otherwise park our children on her front yard (as tempting as this may be) because she deserves no recognition. Instead let us continue to support Max and his family. Let us take a page from their family and friends and celebrate our beloveds joyfully and publicly. It was truly inspiring and certainly more worthy of our attention than some hate-filled letter and its writer.

Do not wish this woman had children/grandchildren with autism. Let us be grateful that she does NOT. She could neither love nor understand them and she is unworthy of such an honour.

Do not (and this is most important) be angry with her “frightened” children. They are afraid because their mother feeds their fears and ignorance. Instead, let us educate them with the same generosity of spirit and kindness we wish others would show to our beloveds. And do not abuse their mother to them. It will only serve to close their ears and minds.

I’m sure some people are still in favour of the tar and feather method. However, think about what I said. That is all my daughter and I ask.

The full letter is embedded below.