Man accused of raping fellow patient to stand trial

June 29, 2010 6:00:31 PM PDT
A man accused of sexually assaulting a fellow psychiatric patient at San Mateo Medical Center earlier this year was found incompetent to stand trial in San Mateo County Superior Court this morning.

Ronald O'Brien, 27, who faces 25 years to life in prison if his competency is restored and he is convicted, has been in custody since the March 30 incident, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

The two court-appointed doctors assigned to determine whether he is competent to stand trial returned their reports today, with both concluding that O'Brien should be placed in a hospital.

He is due to return to court Aug. 3 for a judge to decide which state hospital he will be sent to, Wagstaffe said.

In the meantime, he is charged with rape, forcible penetration, residential burglary, dissuading a witness and assault with intent to rape.

Wagstaffe called the crime "horrific" and said it is not surprising O'Brien was found incompetent to stand trial, given his extensive criminal and psychiatric history.

The night of March 30, Wagstaffe said, O'Brien allegedly went into a 23-year-old female patient's room and pushed her onto the bed.

He then allegedly climbed on top of her, held his hand over her mouth and sexually assaulted her, according to Wagstaffe.

Wagstaffe said the victim tried to push him away but was unable to. After the assault, O'Brien allegedly left her room and returned with a piece of paper containing drawings that said she should not tell anyone what had happened, Wagstaffe said.

The next morning, the woman reported the crime and police arrested O'Brien.

He allegedly said he had wanted the woman to be his girlfriend and he hadn't understood that what he did was wrong, Wagstaffe said.


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