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Massena man facing sex charges to be examined by psychiatrist

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MASSENA - A preliminary hearing for a Massena man facing two sex charges was postponed Thursday after the defense attorney suggested his client was suffering from mental health issues that prevented him from assisting his attorney with the case.

Village police charged Thomas J. Chapman, 57, of 34 Glenn St., Massena, with first-degree aggravated sexual abuse by compulsion and committing a first-degree criminal sexual act at 7:55 p.m. Sunday. Police said the arrest stemmed from an incident that reportedly took place at 3 a.m. Sunday and was reported after the female victim was hospitalized for injuries she suffered in the attack. The allegations include a deviant sex act and the use of a foreign object.

Defense attorney Edward F. Narrow, Syracuse, told Acting Massena Village Justice James M. Crandall that he was concerned his client wasn’t fit for his case to move forward.

“I have spoken with family members and based on those conversations and my personal knowledge of Mr. Chapman it is my belief he is suffering from a mental defect that makes him an incapacitated person at this time and unable to assist in his own defense,” Mr. Narrow said.

He added he was asking the court to order Mr. Chapman to undergo a psychiatric examination after a conversation he had with his client Monday at the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility, a review of his client’s medical records and the conversations with his client’s family members. Mr. Chapman has previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and is not currently on any medication, he pointed out.

Mr. Crandall signed an order directing the county’s director of Community Services to have two professionals meet with Mr. Chapman and conduct psychological examinations. “They will make recommendations to the court, and we will go from there,” the acting village justice ruled.

The court also signed a temporary order of protection directing Chapman to have no contact with the alleged female victim.

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