The Washington Times-Herald

April 20, 2013

Fidler molestation trial delayed

By Nate Smith
Washington Times Herald

WASHINGTON — The child molesting case against John William Fidler, 20, has been delayed while he is taken for psychiatric care.

Superior Court Judge Dean Sobecki declared Wednesday that Fidler could not comprehend the charges against him and was sent to a facility for at least 90 days.

Fidler was facing six counts relating to an incident on June 9, 2011. Testimony was given to Fidler’s metal capacity at a hearing on March 28.

According to the court order, an evaluation will be held after 90 days. The standard, according to the order, is a “substantial probability of attaining the ability to understand the proceedings and assist in the preparation of the defendant’s defense within the foreseeable future.”

If there is not a probability, according to the court order, Fidler will be committed. If there is a probability, the state Division of Mental Health and Addiction will treat him for six more months or if he is healthy, court proceedings will commence.

Court documents in the case paint a picture of a disturbed person. In a request for a psychiatric evaluation, dated Sept. 27, 2011, court-appointed defender Tonya Shaw wrote Fidler could not remember the events he was charged for and cannot remember to take medication for his mental state.

She also wrote that Fidler had been in institutional care since the age of 15 and was away from the care for two weeks when the incidents occurred. It is not known why he was released from institutional care.

According to court records, witnesses were heard in December 2011, and on Jan. 19, 2012, Sobecki granted Shaw’s motion for a psychiatric evaluation.

The probable cause affidavit on the charges state Fidler had visited the family where the incidents occurred on June 8 while looking for a place to live. It is not certain why he was released from institutional care.

On June 9, 2011, Fidler took a 5-year-old girl to her room where he instructed the girl to take her pants off and then touched her inappropriately. Pictures were taken with Fidler’s cell phone and then when he attempted to try other acts, the girl refused. A sibling then entered the room and realized what had happened. Fidler then threw a blanket over the victim and left the home before the girl’s father could find him.

Fidler was recently in the custody of the state Department of Corrections, court records show. He was originally in the custody of the Daviess County Sheriff’s department but was moved to state custody after another ruling by Sobecki. A request was made by the Daviess County Prosecutor’s office on Dec. 4, 2012 to move Fidler to the state.

The request contained a letter from Sheriff Jerry Harbstreit, who wrote Fidler had to be moved inside the Daviess County Security Center 76 times since his arrest, and had been assaulted by inmates because he told them he was “bisexual” and a “child molester.”

The letter also stated Fidler is accused of 10 major violations and 13 minor violations while at the jail. Those violations included destruction of property and threats to inmates and jail staff.