Homeless man accused of raping 83-year-old to be re-evaluated
BY STEVE METSCH firstname.lastname@example.org February 21, 2013 3:34PM
Dennis D. Dodson Jr.
Updated: March 23, 2013 6:29AM
A homeless man who a year ago was deemed mentally fit to stand trial for the alleged rape of an 83-year-old Orland Park woman now must undergo another psychiatric evaluation before his case proceeds, a Cook County judge ruled Thursday.
Dennis Dodson, 36, is charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault for allegedly attacking the woman in September 2011 behind the Home Depot store in Orland Park.
He was evaluated at his attorney’s request, and Circuit Court Judge John Hynes said in January 2012 that Dodson was found capable of understanding his rights.
Assistant Public Defender Camille Bachli said at that time she would seek a second opinion on Dodson’s mental fitness, but that evaluation never took place, Hynes said Thursday.
It was not clear why the evaluation didn’t occur. Bachli and assistant state’s attorney Clarissa Palermo both declined comment Thursday.
Hynes said that in ordering an updated evaluation of Dodson, he wanted “to be safe.” The evaluation should be completed before Dodson’s next court date, April 15 at the Bridgeview courthouse.
Two men who said they are friends of the victim attended Thursday’s hearing. Both declined comment.
Dodson appeared in court wearing his hair pulled back in a small pony tail. His beard was neatly trimmed. He wore a long-sleeved white T-shirt beneath his jail-issued tan coveralls.
During a preliminary hearing in October 2011, the victim said she felt bad for Dodson and was trying to help him.
She brought him money and food from her nearby home, and when she asked Dodson if she could call the police to have them check on him, he became upset and sexually assaulted her, she testified.