Priest Files Restraining Order against Autistic Teen

A priest in Minnesota has filed a restraining order against a 13-year-old boy and his parents, to forbid them from attending mass at their parish. The boy has autism. Though 13, he’s 6 feet tall and weighs 225.

The Races and their five children typically sat in either the church’s cry room or in the back pew to avoid disrupting other parishioners since they began attending in 1996, according to Carol Race.

No one had complained to them about Adam until the priest’s visit last June, she said.

He said that we did not discipline our son. He said that our son was physically out of control and a danger to everyone at church,” she said. “I can’t discipline him out of his autism, and I think that’s what our priest is expecting.”

The family continued attending mass, she said, trying to calm Adam and leaving during the closing hymn to avoid interacting with other parishioners on the way out.

Months later, after failed attempts to make peace with Walz, the family received a letter asking them to stop bringing Adam to church, Carol said.

The family continued taking him along, however. Then, last week, Carol and her husband, John, were slapped with the restraining order. The following Sunday — Mother’s Day — the family brought Adam to church anyway. Carol said a police officer cited her this week and she is scheduled to appear in court Monday.

Here’s an ironic touch:

In 2005, the St. Cloud diocese gave [Carol Race] an award [see also here] for her efforts to encourage families with disabled children to attend mass, she said. The award cited her “untiring efforts … to educate and advocate for others who have children with disruptive disabilities such as autism and seek to participate as a total family at Sunday mass.”

AutismVox, via Amy Welborn. KSTP.com.