Yesterday, News 8 spoke with April Colaneri. Her son, Brian Colaneri, is a suspect in the foiled plot to attack a Muslim community near Binghamton, NY. She spoke on her son’s Aspberger’s Syndrome, and how this was viewed by him as a “role playing game,” defending her son. When asked on her son’s disabilty playing a part in the plans, she says he, “believes and trusts people.”
Colaneri and another plot suspect are said to both have Asperger’s Syndrome. Rachel Rosner with AutismUp in Rochester, says Aspberger’s Syndrome, which is under the umbrella of autism, can be characterized with difficulty in social communication and interactions. To some, this might seem like an environment where Brian Colaneri and the other suspect were maniplulated and taken advantage of.
Rosner says, “Potentially, a person with Asperger’s Syndrome does not have a lot of friends, maybe only has a few close friends, is looking to make friends online.”
Yet, Rosner says just because some of these suspects might have a disability, it does not excuse the plot they formed to attack innocent people. She says these young men need to be held accountable. She adds, “I don’t think that having a diagnosis of something like Asperger’s Syndrome or autism, precludes someone from being guilty or innocent of a crime.”
Rosner says those she knows in the autism community are exeptional people, and have positive, supportive influences in their lives. They are not surrounded by people who lead them “down a path to do bad things.” Rosner says people with disabilites, and those without, need to be held to the same soicietal code of conduct.
“I just want everybody to be held to the same standards in terms of the laws of our state,” says Rosner.
Rosner says there is still a lot about this particular situation that is not known, but she does believe Colaneri’s mother was doing what any mother would do in her situation: protecting her child, and trying to make sense of the circumstances.