Expert to Newtown panel: Violence, autism not tied

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Associated Press

Posted on January 17, 2014 at 1:06 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 17 at 1:07 PM

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A commission looking into the Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre in Connecticut has been told there is no data linking people with autism to increased violent criminal behavior.

But Matthew Lerner, a psychology professor at Stony Brook University, told the panel Friday there are traits associated with autism that often explain behavior when those on the spectrum do come into contact with the legal system. Those include impulsive and compulsive behavior and the inability to understand social motives and emotional situations.

He told the governor's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission there is nothing that links autism to the type of planned mass murder that occurred in December 2012 in Newtown.

Recently released documents show gunman Adam Lanza had been diagnosed in 2006 with a profound autism disorder. Twenty children and six adults were killed in the shooting.

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