A California cul-de-sac is embroiled in a civil lawsuit regarding a boy with autism who neighbors say is a public nuisance.
"For us this case is not really about autism,” said Robert Flowers, one of plaintiffs. “It's about the safety of our children. They were attacked on multiple occasions."
The neighbors in Sunnyvale who filed the lawsuit say they don't blame the now 11-year-old boy. They allege the problem is his parents, who they say didn't do enough to control their son and prevent him from hurting other young children in the neighborhood.
"They have been slapped, hit, kicked, basically terrorized," said Bindu Pothen, another plaintiff.
Flowers said, "My son on his 4th birthday was riding his bike, and the child threw him to the ground, grabbed with both hands his hair and shook him violently."
The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages for the boy's behavior, as well as an injunction requiring his parents to “prevent future occurrences of the same.”
While police reports were not immediately available to support these claims, the plaintiffs also say they are worried their property values could be affected if they ever decide to sell their homes.
"When there is unchecked violence in a neighborhood,” neighbor Kumaran Santhanam said, “it's something that we have to disclose when we sell or rent our home."
Meanwhile, the family of the boy at the center of the suit is no longer living in the home. They released a statement to ABC News, saying "we are ... very disappointed by the non-factual and deeply manipulative falsehoods that have been spread ... which we feel amounts to a modern-day witch-hunt against a small disabled child and his family."
Autism advocates worry this could set a disturbing precedent for families of children with autism.
"I would hope that the court doesn't rule against the family because that just creates another barrier. That is not the solution," said Ronald Hampton, the president of the District of Columbia Autism Society.
The neighbors say they filed the lawsuit as a last resort and won't back down because the parents who still own the home could move back at any time. They also claim the parents never apologized or took responsibility for the attacks. They are suing for damages for alleged past abuse and assurances that the boy will be better supervised in the future in an attempt to keep other children safe.