OSHAWA, ONT. - The father of a 13-year-old autistic boy who was targeted by the poison pen of a nasty neighbour says he's disappointed police won't be pursing hate crime charges.
Jim Begley said he had hoped Durham Regional Police would lay hate charges against the anonymous author of the letter which recommended his son, Maxwell, be "euthanized" because of his disability.
But Tuesday morning police issued a statement confirming that after consulting the Crown attorney's office the letter did not reach the needed "threshold" to be considered a hate crime.
"That's really too bad," Begley told QMI Agency. "I personally feel it does qualify as a hate crime. That's sad news in my opinion."
Begley said he's hoping the family can meet with police to hear their rationale for not pursuing hate crime charges.
Police spokeswoman Jodi MacLean said officers continue to investigate and have not ruled out laying other charges, she said.
"It's a pretty high threshold to lay that charge of a hate crime," she said. "It's a pretty rare charge. We consulted with the Crown attorney's office because they are the experts with this legislation, but a criminal investigation is definitely underway."
The hateful letter was slipped under Maxwell's grandmother's door in Newcastle, Ont., east of Toronto.
Printed on a pink sheet of paper, the letter begins with complaints about the boy making noises in the backyard because "it scares the hell out of my normal children."
Some of the most disturbing passages include: "He is a hindrance to everyone and will always be that way!!!!! Who the hell is going to care for him?????? No employer will hire him, no normal girl is going to marry/love him and you are not going to live forever!! Personally, they should take whatever non-retarded body parts he possesses and donate it to science."
The letter is signed "one pissed off mother."
— With files from Jenny Yuen