Court: Prosecutor files paperwork to drop domestic violence charge against Allendale teen with autism

Posted at 5:21 PM, Jul 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-11 22:23:29-04

HUDSONVILLE, Mich. -- Court officials say the Ottawa County Prosecutor's Office has filed paperwork to dismiss a domestic violence charge against an Allendale teenager with autism.

FOX 17 first reportedabout the case involving Stephen Morehouse in June. John Wiley says police were called on his 17-year-old stepson after he had a mental episode around his family members.  Wiley said he was trained by health professionals to contact authorities when something like that happened.

Two weeks after the incident, Morehouse's family received a letter in the mail saying there was a warrant out for his arrest.  Wiley believes the charges are not fair because Steven has the mindset of a 12-year-old and can’t control his outbursts.

During the incident in question, Wiley says Morehouse, who has been suicidal in the past, started making threats against himself after his electronics were taken away. Wiley took him to the ground and held him until he calmed down, then called 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."

Wiley says Morehouse was held in jail for almost 24 hours on that warrant without his medication.

A judge heard preliminary evidence in the case Tuesday morning and allowed the case to continue to trial.  A protest was also held outside the 58th District Courthouse on Tuesday morning to raise awareness about Stephen's case and for kids with disabilities.

On Wednesday, 58th District Court officials in Hudsonville said the court received paperwork from the prosecutor's office to drop the charges, though a judge still has to sign off to authorize the dismissal.  The case will likely go before a judge Thursday, according to the court.

FOX 17 has reached out to the Ottawa County Prosecutor's Office for comment on this development, but they said they would not comment on ongoing litigation.

“They reviewed the case, looked at his medical records and talked to the school liaison officer and decided it was in everybody’s best interest to drop the charges," said Wiley.

The family had to attend Stephen's final pretrial on Tuesday and thought the trial was moving forward until they got the call on Wednesday.

"I was elated, but I thought it was a B-S statement," said Wiley. "It should've happened at the arraignment. Why did they wait till after they offered two pleas to us to review the case?"

Wiley says the whole situation has been a burden and stress on the family, but hopes their experience may have a positive impact for other families in the future.

"It makes you feel good,  but at the same time sad that this has happened to so many people," said Wiley. "Other people that couldn’t afford to fight. If you end up in court, fight, just fight. Hopefully no one else has to go through this."