Videos appear to show former autism society board member abusing a child
EDITOR'S NOTE: The video accompanying this article contains disturbing images.
The I-Team has obtained videos of what police said show a former local autism society board member abusing her non-verbal autistic child.
The videos appear to show Danny Fielding, a former treasurer and autism society board member, hitting and yelling expletives at her 16-year-old son, threatening to kill him, and hitting him with a toilet plunger.
Fielding is no longer a board member for the advocacy group. Trina Wood, president of the Kalamazoo Battle Creek Autism Society, said it was a mutual decision between the society and Fielding.
After learning about the charges and seeing the videos, Wood expressed surprise at her former board member’s actions.
“She has never given us any cause for concern,” Wood said. “I have been around her family and I’ve never had any cause to question her standing as a board member.”
Fielding has not responded to Newschannel 3’s requests for comment.
According to court documents, there are at least 12 recorded videos showing Fielding abusing her son. The videos were recorded secretly by her son’s 13-year-old brother on different days.
Both children have since been placed in the custody of their father, Tim Fielding, who is divorced from his wife.
“My family is spending this time to heal, legal proceedings are ongoing, and we have no comment,” Fielding wrote in a brief email to the I-Team.
At the Kalamazoo Battle Creek Autism Society, Wood said Fielding’s work as a board member and treasurer is hard to reconcile with the charges and the videos.
“We never condone violence or negative behaviors,” Wood said.
Wood also said it’s important for communities to step up, reiterating the struggles faced by those raising children with autism.
“It is extremely difficult, day in and day out, to meet the needs of a child with autism, especially if they are non-verbal,” she said.
Fielding is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday for a pre-trial hearing.
She faces charges of child abuse in the fourth degree, a high-court misdemeanor.
Autism society board member charged with child abuse against her autistic son