Florida Man in Disabled Woman-Abortion Case Won’t Go to Prison

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 21, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Florida Man in Disabled Woman-Abortion Case Won’t Go to Prison

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 21, 2004

Orlando, FL (LifeNews.com) — An elderly man will not be sent to prison or a mental institution even though he stands accused of raping a disabled woman, a Florida judge ruled. The incident set off a firestorm between abortion advocates and Governor Jeb Bush (R), who wanted to appoint a legal guardian represent the woman’s unborn child.

Orange Circuit Judge Alan Lawson ruled on Monday that 76 year-old Philip Strong cannot have "unsupervised contact with any mentally disabled person or any minor child" and must undergo a mental evaluation in a year, the Associated Press reports.

Strong was accused of raping J.D.S., a disabled woman. J.D.S. gave birth to the baby in September. Her baby, known only as "Baby S," is also doing very well.

DNA tests matched Strong with J.D.S.’s daughter

When Strong was apprehended, authorities questioned whether he was mentally fit to stand trial.
According to two court-appointed psychologists, Philip Strong, whose wife owned and ran the home for the disabled where the raped disabled woman lived, suffers from dementia and is not capable of understanding either his actions or the court proceedings.

Last year, Judge Lawson ordered more psychological tests for Strong, who is sometimes incoherent, to see if his condition could be improved.

That’s not likely to happen, said Strong’s attorney Jeffrey Kaufman.

"You’re not going to fix somebody at 75 years old who has these problems,” Kaufman told Judge Lawson, according to the Associated Press. "I’m surprised he remembers me every time I see him. It’s not like he’s just old. This man, he’s not there. He’s in and out.”

"Does he know as he’s standing there that he has a child? He doesn’t know he has a child," Kaufman added. He said Strong frequently can’t remember what happened only minutes before.

Though two psychologists said he was incompetent, a third said there was no reason why Strong couldn’t stand trial.

The third pointed to comments Strong made to police when he was arrested saying "I have an answer" when asked if he raped the disabled woman and affirming to police that he had an attorney already.

Police say Strong smiled when they told him he was the father of the disabled woman’s child.

Following the revelation of J.D.S.’s pregnancy, pro-life groups joined Bush and the head of DCF in advocating for a guardian for the baby. Abortion advocates agreed with a local judge who appointed a guardian for J.D.S., but not for the unborn child.