Category Archives: Legal Issues

April A to Z Blogging Challenge: Marriage

Blogging From A to Z April Challenge

One of life’s milestones, something we all see as a normal life goal, is sometimes just out of reach for some of our adult children with Down syndrome. Marriage represents opportunities for advocacy in two different areas: the personal and the public. Continue reading April A to Z Blogging Challenge: Marriage

NCCJD – Advocating For Justice in the Intellectual Disability Community

There is no shortage of opportunities for us to help create change in our world today.  We all have our reasons for why we choose to support (or not) a particular issue. When it comes to advocacy, we are usually motivated by causes we identify with.  If we can picture ourselves or our loved ones being affected by a certain problem, we’re more likely to invest our own time and energy to fix it. What about the issues that we don’t allow ourselves to connect with? Who fights to fix the problems most of us just don’t want to acknowledge?

Continue reading NCCJD – Advocating For Justice in the Intellectual Disability Community

Timothy Smith and Ethan Saylor – 2 Deaths by Prone Restraint

Timothy Smith Ethan Saylor





Chambersburg, Pennsylvania is less than an hour’s drive from Frederick, Maryland  – the place where Ethan Saylor was killed in January, 2013.

In Chambersburg, on September 9, 2010, another from our community was taken from his family.

His name was Timothy Smith.

Like Ethan, he died at the hands of someone whose job was to help.

Like Ethan, he died face down on the floor and restrained.

The manner of death was also ruled as homicide by asphyxiation.

Like Ethan’s sister Emma, Tim’s sister, Becki feared what her brother’s death meant to those of us left behind:

“What I want is for my brother’s death not to be in vain,” Boor said. “There has to be some sort of mandated training for these people.

“The important thing is it doesn’t happen to anybody else,” she said.

Unfortunately, Tim Smith’s death did not become public knowledge within the Down syndrome community like Ethan’s has.

It should have.

Continue reading Timothy Smith and Ethan Saylor – 2 Deaths by Prone Restraint

Is Guardianship Right for Your Family?

PictureGuardianship is one of the biggest issues that parents of children who have intellectual or developmental disabilities (ID/DD) face.

The discussion usually starts in IEP meetings when students start planning for “transition” from school to adult services.

For a long time, guardianship was considered the only way to keep individuals with ID/DD “safe.” Now, there are other options such as limited guardianship or powers of attorney.  But how do families make the decision about what is best for their family?

Continue reading Is Guardianship Right for Your Family?

Guardianship Tips – What Happens When You Move?

So, you’ve gone through the process of getting guardianship of your adult child.  What happens if your family moves out of state ?

The answer to that question may depend on the states involved.


The Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective  Proceedings Jurisdiction Act

Continue reading Guardianship Tips – What Happens When You Move?

Can We Talk? – “Consent”

Red handsA criminal case in Iowa may have implications for the romantic relationships of adults who have Down syndrome.  It’s a difficult topic, but one that deserves some discussion.
78-year-old Henry Rayhons is facing third-degree sexual abuse charges for having relations with his wife who was living in a nursing home.  The question is, since his wife had Alzheimer’s disease, was she able to consent to a physical relationship?
Henry and Donna Rayhons

Photo from
Headlines like “Can a Wife With Dementia Say Yes to Sex?” are showing up everywhere as legal minds discuss the issue of whether people who are deemed mentally incapacitated actually have control over their own sex life.

Continue reading Can We Talk? – “Consent”

Crime and Punishment in the Intellectual Disability Community

Am I Missing Something?

Man abuses someone who has an intellectual disability and as his punishment, judge orders him to work with the ARC.


Billy Glass (Photo: CPSO)
I came across an article today in the Shreveport Times that explained:

“The Arc Caddo-Bossier says it will not allow former Shreveport firefighter Billy Glass to perform community service or work with the intellectually disabled people the agency serves.”

As I read the article, I learned that several former firefighters were involved in incidents at the firehouse.

“Billy Glass, a former Shreveport firefighter accused of abusing a mentally-disabled man at Fire Station No. 8, and of hiring a prostitute for another intellectually challenged man, pleaded guilty today to both charges.”

What I can’t wrap my head around is the punishment that the judge thought was appropriate:

“Judge Ramona Emanuel sentenced him to 90 days of unsupervised probation on the misdemeanor prostitution count and one year of supervised probation on the felony cruelty charge. He must also pay a $25 fine, attend AIDS counseling, sensitivity training and work with intellectually disabled people.

Glass, 38, entered a so-called Alford plea, meaning he maintains his innocence but concedes the evidence in the case would reasonably result in a guilty verdict against him.”

As a mother, I fell this is absurd.  I cannot fathom why anyone would think having these men work around more vulnerable adults is a good idea.

“Federal and state officials are investigating three Shreveport firefighters who allegedly abused two middle-aged disabled men, got them drunk and watched as at least one of the men had sex with a woman.”

As it is, we are currently fighting to get consistency when it comes to criminal background checks for people who work as care providers.  WHY then would we “sentence” known abusers to perform “community service” with our loved ones?!
On top of the abuse, there was an apparent attempt to cover up the scandal.  The chief and assistant chief were fired for violation of administration policies.

“The 50-year-old is accused of failing to report that an intellectually disabled man was being abused at Fire Station 8 and of trying to conceal the hiring of a prostitute for another mentally challenged man at the same fire station.”

Parents in Shreveport must be furious and alarmed.  The rest of us should be too.

In another article, it was reported that Glass would attend sensitivity training at the ARC.  The district attorney is quoted there:

As a part of the deal, Judge Ramona Emanuel added her own requirement: Glass will enroll in a year of sensitivity training with The ARC of Caddo-Bossier, though The ARC has yet to confirm participation.

“The District Attorney’s Office not only has the obligation to uphold the law, but it also has an obligation to do so in a way that we think benefits the community,” assistant district attorney Dale Cox. “I think, in this case, it would benefit the community.”

“Now he can get on with his life,” Glass’ attorney Randal Fish said. “We thought that was a good outcome given the circumstances.”

A good outcome for who?