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Judge: Doctor incompetent to stand trial in sex abuse case

July 8, 2021 GMT

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — A Maryland judge has ruled that a former pediatrician charged with sexually abusing minors is not competent to stand trial.

News outlets report that Frederick County Circuit Court Julie Stevenson Solt ordered Wednesday that Ernesto Cesar Torres continue to be held in a state psychiatric hospital. His competency will be reviewed in 90 days.

Torres is charged with 98 counts of sexual offenses against 19 juvenile victims between 2001 and 2019. He also faces 61 sexual abuse charges in another case, with the alleged offenses dating back to the 1980s. His medical license is suspended.

Torres was found incompetent last year, but his incompetency was recently called into question. At a hearing last month the state’s psychiatrist testified that Torres was competent, but the defendant’s psychiatrist testified that Torres has a delusion of an “Evil Black Witch.” The judge concluded that each finding is possible so she couldn’t conclude beyond reasonable doubt that Torres is competent.

The ruling means alleged victims miss an opportunity for closure, State’s Attorney Charlie Smith said in a statement.

“With this ruling, that avenue is closed,” Smith said. “We still feel strongly that (Torres) is competent and fully understands the abuse that he inflicted.”