Ex-teacher's insanity claim challenged

July 17, 1993|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Staff Writer

The Anne Arundel County state's attorney yesterday challenged the insanity defense filed by former Northeast High teacher Ronald Walter Price, who is charged with sexually abusing three of his students.

Mr. Price, who resigned in May, was charged in April with three counts of child sexual abuse, unnatural and perverted sex practices and a fourth-degree sex offense. He is accused of having sex with students, sometimes in the school building.

Mr. Price, 49, has admitted on national television that he had sex with as many as seven students -- including his current wife -- over a 20-year period.

In papers filed yesterday, Assistant State's Attorney William C. Mulford II asked that a Circuit Court judge order Mr. Price to be examined at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center, a state psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane, to determine whether he is sane.

Mr. Price is under house arrest at his Brooklyn Park home while awaiting trial.

The request for the evaluation is unlikely to face any legal obstacles, said Timothy Umbreit, one of Mr. Price's lawyers. "They have every right to examine him," Mr. Umbreit said.

Mr. Price was indicted on three counts of child sexual abuse after charges were brought by a current student and two graduates of the Pasadena school.

His attorneys filed pleas last month of not criminally responsible by reason of insanity to the charges brought by a 16-year-old and a graduate. They filed a not-guilty plea to the charge filed by another graduate.

Mr. Mulford yesterday declined requests by Mr. Price's attorneys for the return of a personal computer confiscated by police in an April 30 search of Mr. Price's house.

In responses to pretrial requests by defense attorneys for details about the state's case, Mr. Mulford said in court papers that the sexual offenses occurred between September 1982 and February 1984 at the school, on the school grounds, in vehicles on public roads and in Mr. Price's Pasadena apartment.

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