Taboo Lifestyle: 350 Pound Adult Baby Investigated for Social Security Fraud

May 26, 2011
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If you or a loved one has struggled with the system in order to collect Social Security benefits, then you may be astounded by the self-proclaimed “adult baby” who sleeps in a crib and lives off the government via SSI. Although Stanley Thornton Jr. says he is unable to work, he was able to construct his own giant crib, can drive himself on errands, and decides when he should wear “grown-up” clothes.

The ruckus started about Thornton was featured on a National Geographic show called “Taboo.” 30-year-old Thornton likes to wear diapers, sleep in an adult-sized crib, and drink juice from a bottle. His roommate, a former nurse, plays the role of his mother, and she also collects disability benefits.

Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma has called for an investigation into why either of them are collecting taxpayer-funded social security benefits and wrote in a letter to the Social Security Administration. “Given that Mr. Thornton is able to determine what is appropriate attire and actions in public, drive himself to complete errands, design and custom-make baby furniture to support a 350-pound adult and run an Internet support group, it is possible that he has been improperly collecting disability benefits for a period of time.”

Among other things in the episode of Taboo, cameras followed Thornton to the hardware store where he bought wood for his DIY project of building an elevated high chair that is capable of holding his 350-pound frame. On the show, he said he likes to be treated like a baby because of “love, affection and safeness.”

Thornton does not intend to lose his SSI benefits that he has collected for 10 years and wrote a letter to the Washington Times, threatening to take his own life if his social security benefits are canceled:

“You wanna test how damn serious I am about leaving this world, screw with my check that pays for this apartment and food. Try it. See how serious I am. I don’t care,” the California man said. “I have no problem killing myself. Take away the last thing keeping me here, and see what happens. Next time you see me on the news, it will be me in a body bag.”

Police in Redding took the threat seriously and checked on Thornton after the suicide threat, but according to Redding Record Searchlight, the officer said, “There didn’t seem to be anything about it that would appear the man needed our help or was in danger in any way.”

Also according to Redding, Thornton is a former security guard whose doctor told him that his nightmares and flashbacks are keeping his blood pressure at high levels, for extended periods of time, and has damaged his heart. Thornton has said that pretending to be a baby helps him “cope with post-traumatic stress disorder from abuse he received when he was a child.”

Do you find it ridiculous? Do you believe Thornton, and/or his role-playing roommate, will be found guilty of Social Security fraud?

Author: Tessa



  • Tanya

    Sounds like this may be more of a mental/ emotional condition than it is a physical one. I wonder if the government requires treatment by a licensed professional in such cases? I hope he will find the support and the guidence he needs to recover. Thanks so much for sharing the story.

  • BobLujano

    This man does need psychological help. He does have a physical disability with his obesity. But he clearly does not take it seriously to improve his quality of life. Thus begs the question. Does his SSI benefits interfere with his independence? Remember that the SSI benefits are supposed to be temporary relief for a person to find work and lead an independent life. He has clearly decided that he intends to use the benefits for a long time.