Parties Discuss Competency Issues in Child Sex Abuse Case

Parties discussed a child sex abuse defendant’s competency to stand trial during an Oct. 15 hearing. 

The defendant is charged with first-degree child sex abuse of a victim less than 12-years-old. He picked up the case in April 2018.

The following August, the defendant was found incompetent to stand trial. In May 2020, he was released from St. Elizabeths Hospital, DC’s psychiatric institution, into the High Intensity Supervision Program. Then, on Oct. 7, 2020, he picked up a new case on a charge of armed kidnapping. He is now being held without bond in both cases.

Last June, DC Superior Court Judge Julie Becker found the defendant competent to stand trial in both cases following a report by the Department of Behavioral Health. Defense attorney Bernadette Armand, who is representing the defendant in both cases, disputed the findings and said she would seek a private expert to evaluate her client.

During the Oct. 15 hearing, Judge Danya Dayson raised concerns over adjudicating competency matters for two different cases with two different judges. 

The prosecution suggested Judge Dayson take over for both cases because the defendant’s co-defendant in the sex abuse case does not have any other active felony cases. Judge Neal Kravitz is currently assigned to the kidnapping case.

“My understanding is that the earliest judge should have the case, and that would be the earliest judge of the co-defendant if the co-defendant has an older case,” Judge Dayson said.

The defendant is scheduled for a status hearing on Nov. 3 before Judge Kravitz. It’s expected that, once it is decided which judge will rule over the cases, a competency ruling will be made.