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Judge OKs Some Claims in Lawsuit Over ‘Runaway Train’ Abuse Prosecution of Parents of Autistic Teen

Posted Mar 31, 2011 7:19 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Accused of abusing their autistic, mute, teen daughter, Julian Wendrow spent months in jail and he and his attorney wife, Thal, were separated from their children, who were put in foster homes. Eventually, authorities in Oakland County, Mich., admitted they were wrong and the alleged victim couldn't communicate.

The accusations were made, with the help of a school aide, by a discredited technique known as facilitated communication in which another individual holds the disabled person's hand as he or she "types." And the Wendrows are not the only family who have been accused in this manner; sexual abuse allegations based on such flimsy evidence are surprisingly common, reports msnbc.com.

Authorities who brought the botched criminal case against the Wendrows are immune from liability for malicious prosecution, Judge John Corbett O'Meara ruled yesterday, calling the prosecution of the case a "runaway train." However, he let stand other claims, including defamation concerning statements made to the media implying that the Wendrows were guilty, reports the Detroit Free Press.

A blog post by the Appelman Law Firm, which represents the family, provides further details.

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