Sexual assault case is continued

JANELLE PATTERSON The Marietta Times Christopher Reese, (right) 39, of 728 Second St., Marietta, appears for a competency hearing in Washington County Common Pleas Court Tuesday.

Washington County Common Pleas Court will hear from a psychologist next week on the competency of a Marietta man accused of raping a young family member.

Christopher Dale Reese, 39, of 728 Second St., appeared before Judge Mark Kerenyi Tuesday at which time his attorney Rolf Baumgartel announced that while he was not stipulating that Reese is now competent, the court would need to hear from Reese’s doctor to testify to that competency.

Reese had been found not competent to stand trial last year after being indicted in July 2016 on five counts of rape, all first-degree felonies, and eight counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, all third-degree felonies.

Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Amy Graham said the victim was 13 years old at the time of the alleged assaults and gave birth to their child on July 5 last year.

“The charges stem from the fact that she was 13, not that she was forced, but that’s not to say whether she provided consent or not,” said Graham.

According to previous Marietta Times reports, Reese had turned himself in to law enforcement in the early morning of July 5 for having sexual relations with a minor. He allegedly insisted that he needed to be taken into custody because the victim was showing signs of pregnancy.

Graham said Reese had been found by medical evaluation to not be competent to stand trial after the indictment.

“After he was indicted he was found not competent at the time to stand trial so he was sent to Appalachian Behavioral (Healthcare in Athens),” Graham explained. “We have a report now that says he is competent but we need his doctor to testify to that.”

She said the definition of competence is different for court proceedings, focusing primarily on whether or not the defendant can participate in their own defense and understand the charges, legal process and roles of the different parties like the attorneys and judge.

“If they don’t understand what’s going on then there’s a concern that they can’t participate,” she explained. “Usually they can be restored within a year after hospitalization and sometimes drug treatment. His attorney wants to have the psychologist there to testify that (Reese) can adequately participate in his defense.”

Graham said in court that the time between the report’s release and Tuesday’s hearing did not give ample time for a subpeona and so Kerenyi scheduled a continuance of the hearing for Oct. 26 at 1:30 p.m.

Reese will remain in the custody of the Washington County Jail with a bond of $100,000 until that hearing.