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Former Cop Fell Apart After Taking Zoloft

Posted on June 20, 2012

An Iraq War veteran and former Westminster police detective convicted of kidnapping and raping a waitress in Fontana took the witness stand for the first time on Tuesday in an effort to persuade a jury that he was insane at the time of the attack because he was taking Zoloft.

Anthony Orban told the juror in the San Bernardino County courthouse that he was “falling apart” in the months preceding the attack. His home was foreclosed and his marriage was on the rocks. Orban was so depressed, he turned to alcohol to numb the pain.

English: frhde hdres

English: frhde hdres (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most of his testimony on Tuesday was about the stress he faced as a Marine and as a police officer. On Wednesday, he discussed the kidnapping and rape, and told jurors that he simply couldn’t imagine doing this to anybody.

Dr. Peter Breggin, a New York psychiatrist who is a critic of psychotropic medications, was one of the main witnesses for the defense. He said that Orban believed he was possessed by demons and contemplated killing himself, his wife and their dog. He also said that a cadaver had a conversation with Orban.

Breggin told jurors that Orban stopped taking Zoloft and then resumed it at full dose five days before the attack, provoking a psychotic break in which he was delirious and not fully aware of his actions.

Last week, the same jury found Orban guilty of kidnapping and multiple counts of rape and sexual assault, rejecting the defense claims that Zoloft made him do it.

During the sanity phase of the trial, the defense has the burden to prove that Orban lacked the ability to distinguish right from wrong.

If the jury finds him not guilty by reason of insanity, Orban would be sent to a state mental hospital for treatment where he could eventually be released. If he is determined to be sane, Orban could face a life sentence in prison.

The victim, who was 25 at the time and working as a waitress at Ontario Mills, testified that Orban kidnapped her as she walked to her car in the parking lot and then forced her to drive to a self-storage lot in Fontana where he raped her. The woman escaped when Orban was distracted by an incoming call on his mobile phone. Police later found Orban’s service weapon – with his name on it – in the victim’s car.

Even if Orban couldn’t tell the difference between right and wrong because he was taking Zoloft, he is still responsible for his actions. People who take psychiatric medication can exhibit unusual behavior, but it is unlikely that these drugs led to Orban’s decision to rape his victim. These drugs, however, have been known to cause serious birth defects. If you or someone you love was taking Zoloft or any other psychiatric medication while pregnant and the child was born with a birth defect, you should request the services of a personal injury lawyer to determine if you have a case. A professionally trained injury lawyer can help you collect the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.

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