Calif. lawsuit calls autistic boy “public nuisance”

A couple in Sunnyvale, California are suing their neighbors over their autistic child.


SUNNYVALE, Calif. (CNN) – A lawsuit has made a quiet Sunnyvale cul-de-sac into a legal battleground a lightning rod among advocates for people with autism.

“This was our last resort. We couldn’t just sit by and watch it continue,” Robert Flowers, one of the neighbors filing the lawsuit.

The lawsuit describes his former next door neighbor’s 11-year-old autistic son as a “public nuisance.”

Flowers said he filed the lawsuit, not to discriminate against the disabled, but in an effort to protect his children and others who had been attacked by the boy.

“A neighbor boy who has continually attacked small children, including our own, culminating in a brutal and vicious attack on my son’s fourth birthday,” Flowers said.

Advocates for people with autism said the lawsuit is mean-spirited and misguided. They believe there could and should have been a solution other than dragging the boy’s family into court.

But neighbors said they tried to repeatedly work with the boy’s parents to make sure he was properly supervised, but the attacks continued.

The family that is the target of this lawsuit has since moved out of the area. KPIX 5 in San Francisco reached out to the family and their attorneys Friday, but they were not available for comment.

A judge is expected to hear the case next week.

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