A former Northeast High School teacher accused of having sex with students has not been diagnosed as suffering from a sexual disorder, contrary to published reports that he has, sources close to the case say.
Media reports last week quoted unidentified sources as saying a state doctor had diagnosed Ronald Price as having a personality disorder and paraphilia, a mental disease characterized by sexual deviance.
Sources close to the case said this week, however, that the Aug. 2 evaluation, done to assess whether Mr. Price was competent to stand trial, did not give a final diagnosis.
Instead, the competency report, written by court-appointed psychiatrist Dr. Lorraine McDermott and addressed to Circuit Judge Eugene M. Lerner, states that Mr. Price must be evaluated further before paraphilia and other personality disorders can be ruled out.
Mr. Price visited Clifton T. Perkins Hospital in Jessup yesterday for the first part of that additional evaluation.
The report says Mr. Price sometimes loses perspective and allows psychological boundaries to collapse, the sources said. It also says that Mr. Price has an obsessive and compulsive behavior style and engages in self-defeating behaviors.
But William Mulford II, an assistant state's attorney for Anne Arundel County, denied that the psychiatric evaluation contains anything to indicate that Mr. Price has any kind of sexual disorder.
"To say otherwise is flat-out wrong," Mr. Mulford said Monday.
The sources said the court-appointed psychiatrist concluded that Mr. Price is competent to stand trial but has asked Judge Lerner for a 30-day extension in filing a diagnosis, pending further evaluation.
Mr. Price, a social studies teacher at Northeast for nearly 25 years, was arrested in April and charged with three counts of child sex abuse. His psychological condition is important because he has pleaded insanity to two counts of child abuse and not guilty to a third.
Mr. Price has admitted on national television having sex with as ++ many as eight students since 1979; he married two of the young women.
To find Mr. Price sane, doctors must determine that he can
appreciate the criminality of his conduct and is capable of conforming his conduct to the law, Mr. Mulford said.
Jonathan Resnick, one of Mr. Price's Baltimore attorneys, said he is forbidden by a court order to discuss the contents of the report.
"There is a report, and we confirm that there is a preliminary diagnosis," said Timothy F. Umbreit, another of Mr. Price's attorneys.
The controversy over the report's contents began last week when the Associated Press carried a story after confirming on its own a report first broadcast by WBAL radio in Baltimore. The AP story, published in The Sun as a combined wire service and staff effort, quoted sources as saying that Mr. Price had been diagnosed as having paraphilia.
In a related development, Anne Arundel County police Cpl. Darryl R. Hagner, an investigator assigned to the state's attorney's office, served subpoenas Monday for the medical records of two doctors who have treated Mr. Price: Dr. Lawrence J. Raifman, a Baltimore psychologist, and Dr. Michael R. Neboschick, a psychologist with offices in Glen Burnie and Columbia.
Judge Lerner granted Mr. Mulford's request for a court order Friday and directed that the records be turned over. "By entering the plea of not criminally responsible, the defendant has waived all claims and privileges of confidentiality," Mr. Mulford said in a motion filed in the court record.
Meanwhile, Mr. Price's attorneys have been trying unsuccessfully to negotiate an unspecified deal with Mr. Mulford.
Since his arrest, Mr. Price has said he knows of other teachers at Northeast who have had sex with students, but he has not divulged names. Two additional teachers at Northeast have been charged with child sex abuse, but Mr. Price has said they are not the teachers whose names he is ready to provide in return for a deal with prosecutors.
"One of Mr. Price's overriding concerns has been that this kind of behavior be stopped and dealt with," Mr. Umbreit said.
Mr. Mulford countered that no one is stopping Mr. Price from giving police or prosecutors the names.
"I will not be subject to extortion or blackmail by Ronald Price or his attorneys," he said. "This case will be tried in the courtroom, not the press. If he wants to give us the names, that's fine."
Mr. Umbreit said an investigation ordered by Nancy S. Grasmick, the state superintendent of schools, a current investigation by the local school board, and plans for new guidelines on sexual harassment and reporting suspected child abuse all show a willingness on the part of the school system to stop child sexual abuse by school employees.
"To take advantage of the momentum in a self-serving way is not, I don't think, inappropriate," he said. "Certainly, there's an element of trade-off, but that's how the criminal justice system works these days."