9 episodes

A kitten is injured. Christian Breuer, a young autistic man, is the only suspect. His fiancée triggers an animal cruelty investigation, then disappears. Christian faces charges based on a faulty affidavit, compelled into a calloused legal system which has little understanding of and makes no considerations for his disability. People with autism are vulnerable to bullying and domestic abuse, and often have tragic run-ins with law enforcement. Given that 1 in 44 children today are identified as autistic, Christian's story shows how neurodiversity may be the next human rights movement. Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/vulnerablecreatures/support

Vulnerable Creatures Vulnerable Creatures

    • True Crime
    • 4.9 • 15 Ratings

A kitten is injured. Christian Breuer, a young autistic man, is the only suspect. His fiancée triggers an animal cruelty investigation, then disappears. Christian faces charges based on a faulty affidavit, compelled into a calloused legal system which has little understanding of and makes no considerations for his disability. People with autism are vulnerable to bullying and domestic abuse, and often have tragic run-ins with law enforcement. Given that 1 in 44 children today are identified as autistic, Christian's story shows how neurodiversity may be the next human rights movement. Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/vulnerablecreatures/support

    Bonus: It Happened One Fight

    Bonus: It Happened One Fight

    After listening to our podcast, a veterinarian comes forward to share details of her own run-in with animal law enforcement and the DA's office. An incident between her and her neighbor's dogs forces her into the legal system, where she too feels compelled to take a plea to "make it stop." (Episode utilizes voice distortion to maintain the vet's anonymity, for fear of employment retribution.)


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    • 34 min
    7. Compassion Fatigue

    7. Compassion Fatigue

    Animal law enforcement officers lack oversight. Six months later, the DA’s office finally responds to our inquiry into the discrepancies in Christian’s charging document. We look deeper into the goings-on at their offices, after a suicide there sparks scrutiny. Corporal Cheney loses her job, can now speak openly with us, and wants to tell her side of the story, including how the system has failed her too. Christian’s family drags the DAs office into the court of public opinion. A final call for a better way forward. Christian gets the last word.


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    • 48 min
    6. Seeking Justice

    6. Seeking Justice

    Christian struggles with a sense of justice (mis)served. His father decries the legal system’s coldness, and failures. A new attorney for the family takes up post-conviction relief, to undo Christian’s plea and reclaim his innocence. We learn what that is, and how it works. The prosecution, and court, respond. A systems thinker, who works to develop institutional empathy across public organizations, explains their (over)capacity problems. And we take the findings of our reporting to the DA’s office, for comment. They put it “under active review.”


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    • 45 min
    5. Make It Stop

    5. Make It Stop

    “They shouldn’t be allowed to walk amongst us.” Prosecutors, judges and police officers lack sufficient training needed to make accommodations for autism inside the legal system. We examine why people take coercive plea deals. Christian struggles with a sense of justice (mis)served. Autism experts detail life in jail for someone on the spectrum. Society’s mixed messages on animal welfare, and call for humane community principles. A closed case gets reopened again, placing Christian back in harm’s way.


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    • 43 min
    4. Free Falling

    4. Free Falling

    “It’s like a fingerprint, like a shadow.” We learn more about autism in general, and how it affects Christian specifically. Christian tells Andrea what he says really happened to Storm — is his explanation a possible, and believable one? Veterinarians weigh in. The backstory of Andrea and Christian’s relationship. Who was really running the show? Christian's lie haunts him. To plea or not to plea? That is the question.


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    • 49 min
    3. The Link

    3. The Link

    Domestic violence experts introduce us to “the link” and outline the dynamics of control and manipulation. A private investigator goes searching for an elusive “director.” Andrea explains why she called animal law enforcement, and what she did, and didn’t say. Veterinarians recount their interactions with her, and her concerned mother, confirming that they never documented animal abuse. Corporal Cheney defends her fieldwork. Andrea and Christian defy legal counsel and keep communicating. She’s gained some clarity on their past relationship. He has too, but he’s been hiding a secret.


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    • 37 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
15 Ratings

15 Ratings

bjoanne9 ,

A New Perspective

A necessary and tough evaluation of the systems we expect to protect the innocent and help the victims. This podcast explores a case that goes surprisingly awry. Good intentions are not a good excuse to avoid evaluating errors. I came away with a new outlook on the “justice” system. There isn’t one person to blame. I would hope that anyone that listens to this questions these systems and how we can work to improve them.

candacewoods ,

Vital conversation

Truly important conversations about a whole host of things: young love, autism and disability in the justice system, the role of animal law enforcement, and the fascinating things that our DA in Colorado Springs chooses to spend time and resources on. Really grateful for the hosts’ thoughtfulness and their own expertise and experiences being brought to the table. Do listen.

Sam Briggs iPhone ,

MUST listen

This is a MUST listen podcast. Excellent journalism, eye opening and jaw dropping revelations, and fantastic storytelling. This was inclusive of everyone’s perspectives which was very educational and enlightening.

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