An Oakland man who has been in custody on sexual assault charges for three years will go to trial next month.

A judge on Tuesday ruled that Joseph McInnis, 60, was competent to stand trial.

That ruling followed a hearing Tuesday at the Capital Judicial Center at which a psychologist with the State Forensic Service testified that it was more likely McInnis was malingering about his ailments and didn’t suffer from the Lewy body dementia that had been diagnosed in 2011 by a physician.

In August 2012, McInnis was indicted on two counts of gross sexual assault and four counts of unlawful sexual contact all occurring between Jan. 1, 2011, and Jan. 31, 2012, in Oakland.

The offenses list the same girl, who was 14 and 15 years old, as the victim.

McInnis is being held in lieu of bail, set at $50,000 cash or $100,000 worth of property, and conditions of bail ban him from contact with the victim or her family and with children under 16.

Forensic psychologist Nadir Behrem testified Tuesday that he had evaluated McInnis for the court on Nov. 18, 2014, at Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta. Behrem said he didn’t believe the Lewy body dementia diagnosis, which shows a rapid decline in mental abilities and can manifest itself in hallucinations, was accurate, because McInnis appeared to be functioning well at the hospital and was able to participate in games of Pictionary and bingo.

“It’s questionable whether he even has a cognitive impairment, because he functions very well,” Behrem said.

Assistant District Attorney Kristin Murray James asked Murphy to find that McInnis was competent to stand trial.

“The state has made a very clear case that the defendant is not suffering from Lewy body dementia,” Murray James said. “At the most, he has very mild memory loss.”

Aaron Rowden, attorney for McInnis, said the physician’s 2011 diagnosis was probably more accurate since it was made prior to the initiation of any criminal charges against McInnis.

Justice Michaela Murphy disagreed and referred to one doctor’s report that said McInnis could be exaggerating his limitations.

“He can interact appropriately with the staff at the jail and the hospital, engage in social activities and games and daily living activities,” she said. “There is no evidence he cannot assist with the defense.”

She said McInnis’ case would be set for trial in August.

McInnis, who has long white hair and a white beard, sat with Rowden at the defense table. However, McInnis did not speak to the judge.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]ine.com

Twitter: @betadams


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