A former Maryland pediatrician indicted on nearly 100 sex crime charges has been found mentally incompetent to stand trial.
Ernesto Cesar Torres, 70, was ruled incompetent to stand trial in the state’s Frederick County Circuit Court on Wednesday, according to a press release from the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s office. The ruling came after a defense-hired psychiatrist testified that the former pediatrician suffered from a delusion disorder, rendering him unable to understand a trial.
While a state-appointed psychiatrist found him fine and competent, “Dr. Christiane Tellefsen, disagreed and believed the Defendant remains incompetent due to a delusional disorder and belief in an ‘Evil Black Witch,’” according to the press release.
Judge Julie Stevenson Solt wrote that the former physician will be held in a hospital under the supervision of the Maryland Department of Health and that his competency will be reviewed in 90 days.
"Hospitalization has clearly not altered Defendant's perception of the influence of the [witch] on his life, his pending criminal cases, and the people involved in these cases," Solt wrote in her decision. "Both of the witnesses are experts in the field whose credentials are equally impressive. The Court concludes that each opinion is equally possible. Therefore, this Court cannot conclude, today, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Defendant is presently competent to stand trial."
Torres has been charged with a 98 counts of sexual offenses against 19 juvenile victims between 2001 and 2019. In another case, that dates back to the 1980s, he’s accused of 61 incidents of sexual abuse, the Frederick News-Post reports.
In 2019, he was sentenced to one year behind bars for sexually assaulting an 18-year-old woman during a 2019 appointment in which the patient wanted to discuss her anxiety medication, according to the Frederick County State’s Attorney.
“It’s very frustrating that these countless victims won’t be able to confront the Defendant and have their day in court,” Prosecutor Charlie Smith said this week. “It often provides some closure and assists in the healing process. With this ruling, that avenue is closed. We still feel strongly that he is competent and fully understands the abuse that he inflicted.”
In addition to the 90 day review, the former pediatrician will also be evaluated on an annual basis.