Former detective charged in rape pleads insanity

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA — A former police detective has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges that he kidnapped a woman at gunpoint last year at Ontario Mills and sexually assaulted her for more than an hour.

Anthony Nicholas Orban, 32, entered the pleas Friday in West Valley Superior Court. He’d previously pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the April 3, 2010 incident.

The new pleas mean that a trial in Orban’s case will consist of two phases, attorneys said today.

A jury will first be asked determine whether Orban is guilty of rape and other crimes. If he’s convicted in the first phase, the jury will then hear evidence about Orban’s mental state and deliberate over whether he was sane at the time of the incident.

If Orban is found not guilty by reason of insanity, he will be held indefinitely for treatment in a state mental hospital rather than be sentenced to prison, said his attorney, James Blatt.

Prosecutors say Orban, a former Westminster detective, was off-duty and armed with his service weapon at about 5 p.m. when he confronted a Dave and Buster’s waitress who was walking to her car after her shift.

According to the woman’s testimony at a preliminary hearing, Orban ordered her into her car and directed her driving until telling her to park at a Fontana shopping center.

He then sexually assaulted her in the car for more than an hour. He also choked her, punched her, and took photos of the assault with his cell phone, the woman testified.

Blatt said the defense doesn’t dispute the woman’s account of Orban’s abuse. But he said Orban’s behavior was the result of a “psychotic break from reality” brought on by prescription drugs.

Orban, a former Marine, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after returning home from Iraq War combat.

He was prescribed the anti-depressant Zoloft, as well as an anti-seizure medication called Neurontin, Blatt said.

“At the time of this incident we believe he was overly prescribed for the drugs,” Blatt said. “… Mr. Orban did not know right from wrong.”

Blatt said two doctors have examined Orban and they will testify during a trial about the effects the drugs had on Orban’s mental state. A judge on Friday appointed two additional doctors to examine Orban.

“The issue that the jury will be facing is, ‘Why would this outstanding man who gave his entire adult life to his country and community all of a sudden be involved in these heinous crimes?’” Blatt said.

“We are confident that when the jury hears of the effects one may have with regard to Zoloft and Neurontin that it will seriously consider our defense that he was legally insane at the time of the incident,” Blatt said.

Orban’s prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Debbie Ploghaus, said she believes Orban was sane during the incident despite his drug use.

“It doesn’t change our case at all,” she said. “We still feel, obviously, that he’s guilty.”

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33 thoughts on “Former detective charged in rape pleads insanity

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