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Diaper-Wearing 'Autistic' Man Cons Babysitters

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on December 16, 2010 12:55 PM

A story out of Oklahoma today is as confusing legally is as it twisted.

Police say Oklahoma City resident Mark Anthony Richardson Jr. faked being autistic and convicted unsuspecting young babysitters to change his diaper for sexual gratification. He is charged with sexual battery and multiple counts of outraging public decency.

Mark Richardson, 21, advertised for babysitters to care for his autistic "son" who would need to be watched, fed and have his diapers changed, reports NewsOK.com. After duping women with an ad placed on Craigslist, he would drink from a bottle, require a bedtime story and run around during the diaper changing, reported police.

Richardson's autistic act must have been fairly convincing because at least one of the babysitters was fooled for weeks. "Looking back on everything now, knowing he was not autistic while she was wiping him and cleaning him up completely disgusts her," police told NewsOK. "She believed initially she was caring for an autistic person, but he was actually someone using her to get stimulated."

The layers of social and legal issues here are trickier to clean up than any dirty diaper.

Richardson is charged with one count of felony sexual battery for grabbing the breast of one babysitter's 18-year-old daughter. The additional misdemeanor counts of outraging public decency are for each diaper change.

Under Oklahoma law, the crime is defined as one who "willfully and wrongfully commits any act which grossly injures the person or property of another ... or which openly outrages public decency ... and is injurious to public morals." Considering Richardson's acts took place in private, not public, this might be a tricky statute for prosecutors to use in this case.

In addition, Richardson's "willfulness" in committing his crimes is going to be called into question based on his mental capabilities. It seems clear that Mark Richardson is not actually autistic. Had any of the poor women coping with him known a bit more about autism, they might have caught on to his act sooner.

But is the 4-foot-9 Richardson mentally unstable? His mother, who refused to be named, told NewsOK her son needs mental health care. "He has some mental disabilities. He's had them since he was born," she said. "This is not your average, everyday, walking-the-street citizen. ... He lives in a fantasy, not a reality."

Since Richardson was so forthcoming about his sexual activities when questioned and given his mother's comments, he will most likely have to be examined for competency to stand trial. Even if this diaper-wearing "autistic" man is found competent, what would the best punishment and treatment be for a terribly offensive act by someone who may not know the difference?

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