Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Did Zoloft Cause a Rape?

Anthony Nicholas Orban. Police photo.

Anthony Nicholas Orban was off duty from his post as a police detective in Westminster, California on April 3, 2010 when he sexually assaulted a woman. His defense team admits the attack took place, but says their client should be found not guilty because he was suffering a psychotic episode brought on by the antidepressant Zoloft.

The facts of the crime are terrifying. The 32-year-old Orban used his service revolver to coerce the 25-year-old waitress (her name has not been made public) into his car after her shift at a restaurant in the Ontario Hills mall. He drove to a storage place in Fontana where raped her repeatedly, took cellphone pictures of her, and even shoved a gun in her mouth when she cried. Passersby came within feet of the car, but the tinted windows prevented discovery. Orban received a cellphone call during the attack, and when he answered it, the woman fled the car and found help.

Orban’s trial began last month, and while the allegations were basically uncontested, the defense was unusual: defense attorney James Blatt blamed the drug Zoloft for impairing Orban’s mental state to the point where he was “totally unaware of his actions.” The defense called psychiatrist Peter Breggin, a known critic of psychotropic drugs to bolster the theory that Orban was in an unconscious state during the attack: “I don’t even think he knows he’s tormenting her,” Breggin told jurors. “He would not under any circumstances behave like this if he was not driven over the edge by the drugs.”

On Wednesday, the jury made their decision. They found Orban guilty of eight charges, including rape, forced oral copulation and sexual penetration with a foreign object. Orban’s victim was in court as the verdict was read, betraying a small smile at the outcome.

This week, the jury will reconvene in the Rancho Cucamonga courtroom to decide whether Obran was criminally insane at the time of the crime. If the panel finds Orban could distinguish right from wrong during the attack, he faces life behind bars.

See Also:

Woman Accused of Slashing Daughter’s Throat Found Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity

MMA Fighter Accused of Murder & Mutilation Ruled Fit to Stand Trial

Alleged Teen Killer Pleads Insanity

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