Associated Press April 8, 2014
President of National Alliance on Mental Illness BA calls for resignation of Rod Sullivan-Johnson County Supervisor
People of Johnson County. Today I am calling for the resignation of Johnson County Supervisor Rod Sullivan.
My son was recently tried in Johnson County for non-violent crimes. The overzealous prosecutors per my petition are trying to give him 55 years. Please see my petition.
Your Johnson County Supervisor is going around on Facebook and claiming people have not heard both sides and that my son will kill his ex-girlfriend.
During the trial Dr. Mills testified that Daniel has no history of violence. In fact people with Asperger Syndrome are more likely to be bullied. Daniel did not have intent and is not a stalker. His actions are part of having Asperger Syndrome and not a suitor stalker. His actions were flawed and ambivalent. He did not want to contact his ex-girlfriend so he chose a flawed way. He had her phone number and did not call it. He was blowing off steam. Daniel cannot connect the dots. There is a disconnect between how we feel and how he feels. Daniel made reference to an embarrassing incident in the Johnson county auditor’s office. This referred to an employee who defecated in their pants. He was given two counts of extortion for this by overzealous Johnson County prosecutors. Daniel did not go to Iowa and lived with his parents in Illinois.
Mr. Sullivan is not an expert in Asperger Syndrome or mental illness. To my knowledge, he did not attend my son’s trial and did not hear any of Daniel’s testimony or the forensic psychiatrist Dr. Mills speak.
According to mental health reporting:
1: The vast majority of people with mental illness are not violent.
Here is what researchers say about the link between mental illness and violence:
– “Although studies suggest a link between mental illnesses and violence, the contribution of people with mental illnesses to overall rates of violence is small, and further, the magnitude of the relationship is greatly exaggerated in the minds of the general population (Institute of Medicine, 2006).”
– “…the vast majority of people who are violent do not suffer from mental illnesses (American Psychiatric Association, 1994).”
– “The absolute risk of violence among the mentally ill as a group is very small. . . only a small proportion of the violence in our society can be attributed to persons who are mentally ill (Mulvey, 1994).”
-“People with psychiatric disabilities are far more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violent crime (Appleby, et al., 2001). People with severe mental illnesses, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or psychosis, are 2 ½ times more likely to be attacked, raped or mugged than the general population (Hiday, et al.,1999).”
Mr. Sullivan must resign or be replaced for his irresponsible comments that offend and stigmatize those with autism and mental illness. In addition, he was attempting to influence the verdict.
Joseph M. Jason, President NAMI BA
Board Member of Criminal Justice Advocacy for People with Mental Illness
Member/Director of CURE(Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants)
o Is this the type of person that we want in our jail in Johnson County?
Harry just signed this petition on Change.org.
331 signatures are still needed!
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o Julie VanDyke likes this.
Janelle Rettig Yes, actually. The victim of the stalking and threats was a County employee and many staff are testifying, including County Auditor Travis Weipert. There is a lot more to the story than the father’s story.
Harry Olmstead Ok, but is stalking a reason to hold anybody in jail since 2007? What happen to a speedy trial? Must we hold person’s with mental illness in jail and not place them somewhere where they can receive proper supervision and treatment for their illness?
Janelle Rettig Harry your facts are wrong. He has not been in jail since 2007 for this one case. The young woman has rights also.
Harry Olmstead Is he mentally ill? If so why is he in jail and not in a place that treats mental illness? I’m not saying or suggesting that the girl doesn’t have rights as well. Yet we fill up our jails with people who are mentally ill and not find alternatives for them that will help with their mental illness. That’s one of the reason you are asking the voters for another 50 beds.
Rod Sullivan He’s going to kill her. So what do you suggest?
Harry Olmstead Isn’t it better to get him out of Iowa City and into a facility in IL like his parents have offered?
Rod Sullivan It is easy to get a flyer that gives one side only and jump to the conclusion that everything in it is factual and correct, with no omissions. I would suggest that people who really care about this issue attempt to get the whole story. There is a life at stake.
Harry Olmstead Are you saying Rod that the parents of this man haven’t found him a place in IL that is for persons with autism?
Rod Sullivan I’m sure they did “find him a place”, whatever that means. I’m saying the case is much more complex than is laid out there.
Janelle Rettig The person who is the victim is not a “girl”, she is an adult woman. It is troubling that you call her a girl and him a man. We shouldn’t believe everything we read on the internet. Sometimes these are complex situations that when told by one side victimizes the victim all over.
Harry Olmstead Excuse me “the woman”, I had not intended to be offensive and apologize.
Harry Olmstead Neither of you have answered my question as to weather or not this man is mentally impaired or ill.
Rod Sullivan I’m not his psychiatrist. I just know there are two sides to the story.
Janelle Rettig I wouldn’t know, Harry. All I know is the woman and her loved ones are changed forever and they are very afraid. There should be no tolerance for violence, stalking, and threats. Violence against women is a serious crime and I hope more people take it seriously and stop minimizing the harm.
Nancy Ostrognai My son has it too. As far as I know, there is no treatment. At least there wasn’t15 years ago. People with Asperger’s Syndrome are non-violent. However they are more likely to get caught because they don’t understand visual/social cues. I would question the motivation to lock up a non-violent criminal rather than giving him an anklet. Is this so you can build a bigger jail?
Rod Sullivan Well, Nancy, if after knowing me for 25 years you think that is my motivation, there is clearly nothing I can do to change your mind. You got it – we are all evil. Throw the bums out.
Janelle Rettig I wish you wouldn’t dismiss the harm to the victim and her loved ones. How could you possibly know that this person is non – violent? From a petition? There is simply a lot more to the story than what you read, but I guess you know something else? Did you attend the trial last week and hear first hand information? I don’t think anyone that has been involved thinks this is a victimless non-violent nuisance situation, but I guess you have no trust. For that I am deeply sorry.
Nancy Ostrognai Frankly, I would be more prone to say,”Throw the bums out,” in relation to the seats cas. Eespecially with a supervisor saying that the decision came about because the county was upset with the city over the animal center.About this case, I admit that I know little except that people with Aspergers seem very strange and are non-violent
Mary Burke harry, why does it matter/what is the difference between mentally impaired or ill? as a career mental health professional, i don’t see any difference. i also know that the laws are such that if it’s mental health treatment, it does not protect victims–there is no public accounting of him so that his victims can know if he’s released, where he lives, etc. and as a mental health professional, i can tell you from the scar i have that those with asperger’s can and do become violent, just no more often than the general public.
i know absolutely nothing about the case, i just see people reacting to about one fact among what is clearly hundreds, and acting on emotion and not on facts–which is the advantage that the justice system is supposed to have over us as individuals.
Julie VanDyke I did go to the trial and listen to the young woman’s testimony. The young man is mentally ill and has a diagnosis which we know a great deal more about these days. Based on what I know about Asperger’s, and the people I have known in my life with that diagnosis at his level of it, it is a simple FACT that he will be mentally “tortured” if he is placed amongst the general prison population without his diagnosis taken into consideration in where, how, and to what he is sentenced.
Nobody, not even his father, is saying he should be released. But placing someone who is not able to react “properly” or even read “social cues” in the general prison population IS cruel and unusual punishment. It is not the same as sending someone who is able to perceive and react well enough to social cues to adequately survive with same general prison population to long-term incarceration. None of you above mention that he’s not just up for what one would hope and expect for a stalking sentence….no, the county attorney is asking that he be placed in what amounts to a situation of torture for someone with his mental disorder FOR 55 YEARS. 55 YEARS!!! There ARE murderers who aren’t sent away for 55 years, there are child rapers that aren’t sent away for 55 years!
There are many people who have actually committed, not just spoken about thoughts of unforgivably disturbing crimes that county prosecutors don’t seek to have condemned to the kind of torture he would receive at the hands of fellow prisoners, and has already been subjected to by other inmates in prison for 5 years regarding this same case, for 55 years!!!
Should he be out on the streets free or in the custody of his parents? NO! Does he need to be in a place where he is locked in 24/7 for a long time and receiving appropriate medical treatment for his condition? YES. Does she deserve to live a life without him contacting or coming into contact with her intentionally in any way, YES! But he has a mental condition that does not allow him to stop or control his “hyper-focus” on her, in fact, hyper-focus on specific “areas of interest” is one of the primary symptoms of his diagnosis. I don’t think he will be able stop himself from stalking this woman at any time in the foreseeable future based on his consistent behavior pattern of trying to contact her through every means within his reach.
But though he may “LOOK” totally “NORMAL” to “YOU”, and therefore “YOU” may want him sentenced to the same punishment as someone without his diagnosis, I would like you to have the decency to think this over from other points of view just as I would expect the judge to, before sentencing him to 55 years in prison, (particularly since so many of you feel you have all of the information to justify judging him yourselves to prison for 55 years) than just the one point of view that pulls your heartstrings the most for one of the two people in this very sad ongoing situation. Because this young man, regardless of his disturbed thoughts and unacceptable behavior towards her, is NOT a murderer. He has not committed murder nor should he be sentenced as if he had because we fear that he “MIGHT”. Nor does he deserve to be tortured, which is exactly what putting someone with his particular disability, and level of it, in with the general prison population already has done to him now for the last 5+ years. We DO also have laws against cruel and unusual punishment = torture. The rest of the details of the case, I’m not going to pretend either one of these young people has acted wisely…and yes, I did see her testimony last week…AND I DIDN’T SEE ANY OF YOU THERE DURING IT!
I don’t know a great deal about stalking law, though I’m learning about it in response to someones recent threats towards me, but I know enough to laugh at anybody who says restraining orders are effective. Restraining orders don’t stop stalkers, rapists, or murderers; in fact they often appear to accelerate the threat level to the very women they are