SALT LAKE CITY — A West Valley City man accused of beating and sexually assaulting his 6-year-old neighbor has been deemed incompetent by a juvenile court judge.
The man, who was 17 at the time of the alleged attack and is now 18, was found to be "mentally retarded" by 3rd District Juvenile Court Judge Dane Nolan.
In the ruling, Nolan outlines the various mental issues that affect the man, including seizures, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
"He has been placed in an intellectual disability unit for most of his school years and currently functions at a third-grade level overall," Nolan wrote.
The man was physically abused and neglected by his biological parents, the judge wrote. He was also sexually abused as a child, which led to his removal from the home at age 6. He was later adopted, but continued to struggle to develop.
Nolan stated that the man's inability to understand the charges against him and the court proceedings were just as concerning as the man's history and mental issues. He said that, when questioned, the man indicated that he thought his attorneys would decide his punishment.
"(This man) does not comprehend or appreciate the charges against him," Nolan wrote. "He does not appreciate the seriousness of his legal situation and is not currently capable of contemplating the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison."
The man is charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual abuse and two counts of sodomy on a child, all first-degree felonies; and aggravated assault, a second-degree felony, in connection with the Sept. 11, 2009, incident.
He was initially praised for finding and getting help for the young girl, who was discovered unconscious and bleeding in a driveway. But police interviews with the man and the girl later led them to file charges against him.
The girl was walking to a friend's house when the assault occurred. The teenager "pushed her to the ground and choked her because he 'wanted her to sleep or something,' " according to court documents.
Police say the boy continued to choke the girl until she passed out, although she fought him by scratching his face and neck and then he sexually assaulted her. Later, he allegedly "threw" the girl over a fence.
The teen then got help from his sister and a neighbor and told them he had just discovered the child.
The judge was clear in his ruling that the charges against the man were not being dismissed, only that the court hearings would just be postponed until attempts could be made to restore the man to competency. The judge ordered that the man be committed so that the restoration process can begin.
"Very serious offenses have been alleged," Nolan wrote. "If the charges are true and if he can be restored to competency (the man) should be held accountable for his behavior."
Another review hearing has been scheduled for December.
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