Facebook and Rape
Rape Footage Posted on Facebook Is the Assailant Competent to Stand Trial?
“He and three other adults allegedly had sex with a group of minor women and posted a video of the act on Facebook.”
By Sanjay Adhia, M.D.
Rape Video on Facebook
I performed an Independent Medical Exam on a 20-year-old male to evaluate his Competency to Stand Trial. He was charged with Using Child in Display of Sexually Explicit Conduct, Rape, Sodomy and other additional charges. He and three other adults allegedly had sex with a group of minor women and posted a video of the act on Facebook.
The Question of the Head Injury
The evaluee had a history of a head injury from when he fell from a 20-foot patio at the age of two. This resulted in an obvious skull deformity with minor cognitive deficits. When asked basic questions about his case and the legal proceeding against him, he indicated none to very little knowledge. On my initial evaluation, I rendered No Opinion with a strong suspicion for Malingering (exaggerating symptoms for secondary gain). As I could not render an opinion with medical certainty, I requested the court additional time to observe and evaluate him at the State Hospital.
Records, Records and More Records
I reviewed countless documents thoroughly including psychological tests designed to detect malingering and MRI reports. There were detailed nursing reports detailing his behavior. Although the documentation confirmed he had a head injury with cognitive deficits, clinically he was functioning at a higher level than suggested by my initial Independent Medical Exam of him.
A Second Independent Medical Examination Is Necessary
I performed another Independent Medical Exam of him after a month. The medical records indicated he exhibited an ability to learn basic legal education yet he demonstrated poor effort when offered legal skills classes. He again claimed to have no knowledge of the legal case against him. For example, he would not name any of his charges. I confronted him with the inconsistencies between my examination and the chart. I even read out nursing reports back to him verbatim indicative of malingering. He discounted the discrepancies and had little to say in response. I performed a 21 Item Test for effort which exhibited poor effort. This was consistent with his performance on the Test of Malingered Memory (TOMM).
He said [I] “should probably stop pretending…”
After my interview, I continued to review the chart over the coming week. He was angry at the treatment team for documenting all his words and actions. Although he indicated he knew everything he said was being documented, he continued to speak freely. He indicated he was trying to avoid going to prison and he does not want to “pass” his competency evaluation. He then stated that he “should probably stop pretending that I’m retarded then or just tone it down on my retarded scale”.
The reported external gain, poor effort, evasiveness, diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder and the psychological testing were indicative of Malingering with medical certainty. I removed his other previous cognitive diagnoses (Dementia and Mental Retardation) as they were based on prior IQ tests that, in my opinion, were not valid in a medico-legal context as they were not completed in conjunction with effort testing. I did suspect a mild cognitive disorder but could not diagnose this with medical certainty. The Antisocial Personality Disorder better accounts for his aggressive behavior than any cognitive disorder would as his aggression was often premeditated.
My overall impression was that the head injury may have decreased his intelligence enough to prevent him from successfully Malingering but not enough to render him Incompetent to Stand Trial.
I opined the evaluee was Competent to Stand Trial and as of 2017, he is incarcerated.