Autistic Self Advocacy Network release statement on the sentencing of Kelli Stapleton

image taken from twitter

image taken from twitter

Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) together with  the American Association of People with Disabilities, Autism Women’s Network, Arc of Michigan, National Council on Independent Living, Not Dead Yet, and TASH released on Oct. 6 a statement regarding the sentencing of Kelli Stapleton.

Autism Daily Newscast has reported on this story on numerous occasions, our first report was back in Sept. 2013, which can be read here.

At present the Michigan mother is awaiting sentencing for the attempted murder of her autistic daughter, Issy. She has pleaded guilty to first degree child abuse.

In the statement issued by ASAN, that is a nonprofit advocacy organization for the autism community and which is run by autistic individuals, they state that they support the prosecution’s decision regarding the sentence and that Kelli Stapleton’s request for a more lenient sentence should be disregarded. She had been facing a life sentence but it is now believed, according to a report from News Channel 3, that the sentencing guidelines have now been reduced to between 81 to 135 months in prison.

They state that in 2012, in 41 states there were  67,000 reported cases of child neglect or abuse, aimed towards those children with disabilities. In some cases this led eventually to death. in 75 per cent of these cases, the child had an intellectual disability or behavioural/emotional challenges.

They do add that thousands of families lack support and the vital services needed to help them in their caring role, but that this should not be used as an  excuse fore violent behavior or indeed be blamed for the cause of actions. Within their statement they make reference to the fact that Kelli Stapletom had access to services:

“Indeed, many of the prominently reported cases of violence against children with disabilities – including this one – were by individuals who had access to a rich array of services. Issy Stapleton had just returned from an intensive 6-month residential placement less than 72 hours before Kelli Stapleton poisoned her with carbon monoxide gas.”

They go on to further add that the media and defense attorneys constantly portray violence against people who have disabilities beacsue of the daily ‘burden’ that this ensues, rather than focusing upon the child and showing sympathy for them. Instead, the ‘attacker’ is shown more sympathy.

“Rather than rallying with sympathy and support for the child victim of attempted filicide, media coverage has consistently attempted to excuse and justify her murderer and paint the person who tried to kill her–her own mother–as the “real” victim.”

To read the full statement submitted by Samantha Crane, Director of Public Policy at ASAN, please visit the ASAN website here.


  • Mandy Simms says:

    Im a bit dismayed that as an autism support organisation that you have little sympathy for the autistic parent ie Kellie Stapleton. You don’t seem to even entertain the idea that Kellie may have been suffering from depression and PTSD. Well we will never know because she took a plea deal instead of putting her friends and family through a big court case which I believe she should have done. A blind man could see she was at her wits end with the stress associated with up to 100 hits around the head a day according to her husband no less. No this isn’t an excuse for her actions to
    try and do a murder/suicide, but in her current state she made insane decisions. I believe a normally sane person would have
    called the husband, the police or some sort of welfare agency and expressed her fear she was
    unable to cope anymore with the situation. Issabelles condition was such that she should have been in a secure hospital situation, not in a family situation whereby the entire family were at risk of beatings. There are just some autistic children you cant help and this seemed to be the case here. (reportings of beatings of her younger sister were still going on after that treatment centre). Issabelle is the victim of her mother losing it once, but Kellie was a victim for 14 years, many of them physical against HER. No one seems to give a shit about that. It shouldn’t have to be tolerated, but because the child is autistic it is supposed to be hidden and glossed over as if they cant “help it”.. No they cant, but does that make it right. If anyone is to blame it is the husband. As his wifes protector he should have insisted that Issy go into care for the protection of the rest of his family. He knew she wasn’t coping. You as an autistic supporter should know what trials and traumas these families go through with there children. It is not a GIFT to some parents it is a nightmare. I have an autistic grand daughter. Kellies situation has opened up communication with my daughter and I if this scenario happens to , I as a Mother and Grandmother I wont allow her to get to that stage. In a way Kellie has helped people . What happened with her actually helped people talk about autism and what ACTUALLY goes on in those families. Unfortunately Kellie got locked up for it, and her family don’t have a normally loving mother in the home. Not right!
    going to do the unthinkable.

  • >