Does a wheelchair have a tendency to cast the person in a helpless/harmless light?
Before you get overly upset with me for suggesting any such thing, consider some other possibilities.
A nude 20-something or 30-something able-bodied man is probably assumed to be a sexual predator merely due to his age, sex, lack of clothing, and able-bodied status.
But the same man at 90 with a walker would probably not be seen as a sexual predator.
So, maybe it's not a huge shift, but I would think that a wheelchair would get you at least a bit of a pass.