- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 25, 2016

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Prosecutors in the trial of a former state psychiatrist charged with molesting teenage boys acknowledged in opening statements Tuesday that some of his accusers have a history of lying.

But Travis County prosecutor Mary Farrington told jurors that past fabrications and the victims’ history of mental illness do not change a pattern of predatory behavior by Charles Fischer.

Fischer, 64, was a child psychiatrist at the Austin State Hospital who’s accused of having sex with five teens under his care from 2001 to 2005. Prosecutors over the course of the trial, expected to last about three weeks, could call as many as 11 people alleging they were victims, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

Fischer was indicted in 2012 on multiple charges, including nine counts of sexual assault of a child. He has denied the claims and pleaded not guilty.

Investigators in October 2011 notified administrators at Austin State Hospital that they determined Fischer had sexually abused at least one child in his care, the Statesman reported. They also revealed they had received other reports of abuse dating back several years, but none of those were confirmed by the investigators.

Fischer was fired in November 2011. He had worked since 1990 at the hospital, most recently in a supervisory role at the Child-Adolescent Psychiatric Services Unit. The Texas Medical Board suspended his license the same month he was fired.

Board documents showed Fischer was accused of abuse by at least nine teens, a number higher than previously reported, according to the Statesman. Eight of the nine patients were 13 to 17 years old, the documents showed, and the earliest allegations were in the early 1980s while Fischer was a resident at a facility in San Antonio.

The accusations against Fischer prompted state officials to adopt a number of changes in 2011, including that state hospital employees accused of sexual abuse must be transferred or placed on leave. Also, treatment room doors may not be locked during sessions, and treatment can only be provided in rooms with windows or where staff can be observed by other employees.

An attorney for Fischer, Gerry Morris, told jurors Tuesday that the alleged victims, now adults, suffer from hallucinations, personality disorder and other illnesses that undermine the validity of their claims. Morris also said many of the allegations were investigated at the time but were dismissed because they were unfounded.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide