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Charges mulled against writer who told Canadian family to 'euthanize' autistic son

By Kevin Conlon and Greg Botelho, CNN
August 22, 2013 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A letter sent to an Ontario woman's house calls her grandson a "nuisance"
  • It urges his family to do "the right thing and move or euthanize him!"
  • Police say they are considering criminal charges against the letter writer
  • But "despite the hateful language," they say, the words don't qualify as a hate crime

(CNN) -- Canadian authorities are considering criminal charges -- albeit not for a hate crime -- against whomever wrote a stark letter to an Ontario family urging them to either "move or euthanize" their autistic son.

Prosecutors determined that "despite the hateful language used," the content of the letter "falls below the threshold for a hate crime," the Durham Regional Police Service issued a statement Tuesday.

"However, there are other criminal code issues that are being considered," police added.

The anonymous letter stirred a far-reaching outcry, as well as prompting neighbors to rally around the targeted 13-year-old, Max Begley, since it became public.

Hate letter targets boy with autism

The letter -- signed "one pissed off mother" -- castigates Begley's family for what they describe as the "nuisance" the teen poses.

"That noise he makes when he is outside is DREADFUL! Its (sic) scares the hell out of my normal children!!!!!" the letter states. "They should take whatever non retarded body parts he possesses and donate it to science."

The writer tells the family to "go live in a trailer in the woods with your wild animal kid" and to do "the right thing and move or euthanize him!"

"Either way we are all better off."

The message was delivered to Max's grandmother's house, about 15 minutes from the Begley home in Oshawa, a town 40 miles from Toronto. The boy's father, James, explained that he works and has multiple sclerosis, so Max goes to his grandmother's three to four times a week.

"If someone is sick enough to not only have those thoughts, but to write those thoughts out and then to mail them" James Begley said, then "they should be considered dangerous. We are all concerned."

The letter writer has not been identified by authorities, and police have asked people to give them any information on the case.

As to Max, who is going into the eighth grade this year, his dad said he is not aware exactly of what has happened.

"But he sure is getting a kick out of all of the attention."

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