Allendale teen with autism charged with domestic violence; family calls it unwarranted

Posted at 3:44 PM, Jun 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-11 17:19:34-04

ALLENDALE, Mich. - A teen with autism in Ottawa County is being charged with domestic violence following an incident involving his family. They say the charges are unnecessary.

John Wiley says police were called when his 17-year-old stepson, who has the mental capacity of a 12-year old, was having an episode. Wiley says he's been trained by health professionals to contact police if something like this happens. It wasn't until a warrant for his son Stephen Morehouse's arrest arrived in the mail two weeks later that he even heard the words 'domestic violence'.

“It was a sudden change, and Bam! He flipped” said Wiley.

That's what happened after John Wiley says he took away his stepson's electronics back on May 8. Because of that, Morehouse had an episode, something his family says isn't rare.

“I just walked away and he came charging down the hall and I knew I just had to bring him back out here and get him into what we call a basket-hold" said Wiley.

Stephen, who's been suicidal in the past,  started making threats against himself. John took Stephen to the ground and held him until he calmed down, then called the police.

"It's written right in his treatment plan. If he starts doing that, get him right to the hospital," said Wiley. "I called for a service, not for protection. We didn't think anything was coming out of this until two weeks later in the mail we got his warrant."

John says his son was held in jail for almost 24 hours on that warrant without his medication. Court records show Stephen is charged with domestic violence, despite 'no injuries' being written in the police report.

"They need to know how to handle these people with invisible disabilities, without getting them to be criminals," said Wiley. "The system is so wrong."

John says the case is scheduled to go to trial in August, something he says is unnecessary.

"This whole thing could've been avoided," said Morehouse.

“This is just a complete waste of money," said Wiley.

The Ottawa County Prosecutor's Office says they couldn't comment on the case.

The family has hired an attorney out of Lansing. They've also made a Go Fund Me page to help out with legal fees, since they say this will cost a minimum of $5,000.