Mental Hospital Can’t ‘Castrate’ Unruly Patient

     (CN) — A mental-hospital patient should not be “chemically castrated” as a result of his inappropriate sexual behavior, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled.
     C.J.R., 60, has been a patient of the Colorado Mental Health Institute for 24 years. His schizoaffective disorder caused him to hallucinate about dead babies and to believe that his medicine and food are contaminated.
     His sexually inappropriate behavior includes walking naked into the ward, which includes both men and women, and masturbating in front of hospital staff.
     C.J.R.’s behavior worsened after he stopped taking an antipsychotic drug called Clozaril due to a seizure. He frightened female patients with more frequent nude appearances.
     He also grabbed a nurse’s breasts and genitals, and he “repeatedly and inappropriately solicited staff members for sex.”
     A psychiatrist prescribed Depo-Provera, a contraceptive for women that also has been used on men to control inappropriate sexual urges.
     This use of Depo-Provera on men is commonly known as “chemical castration.” It reduces sex drive, lowers testosterone and causes temporary impotence. The drug is delivered by injection and lasts about 90 days.
     C.J.R refused to take the drug. The state of Colorado took the action to the Denver Probate Court, which authorized the chemical castration.
     However, the Colorado Court of Appeals reversed the decision in an opinion written by Judge Michael Berger.
     “Because the involuntary chemical castration of an individual poses such an affront to his dignity and personal integrity,” we conclude that the involuntary chemical castration of a person under these circumstances may be authorized, if at all, only by the General Assembly (and then only if consistent with the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Colorado),” he wrote.
     He noted that the General Assembly had considered and rejected the use of chemical castration on those who commit some sexual crimes against a child.
     Berger added that the state failed to prove that less intrusive treatment methods were not available.
     Judge Steve Bernard wrote a partially dissenting opinion.
     “By only heeding his moral imperative, I am concerned that the majority gives short shrift to the moral imperative of protecting other patients and the staff at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan, where C.J.R. is hospitalized,” he wrote.
     Attorneys for both sides have not responded to email requests for comment.

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