Trial Is Ordered in Molestation Case


An 81-year-old former psychiatrist was ordered Thursday to stand trial on charges that he and a convicted child molester drugged and molested a teenage patient three years ago.

Burnell Forgey, who appeared in court in a wheelchair, is accused of conspiring with James Crummel to pick up a 16-year-old student at Estancia High School in Costa Mesa and bring him to their Newport Beach condominium for sex, Deputy Dist. Atty. Stephanie Deamon said.

The boy, now 19, was given prescription drugs and forced to perform sex acts with both men, Deamon said during a preliminary hearing in Municipal Court in Newport Beach.


The teenager had described “being hit and struck in the back of the head,” said Newport Beach investigator Randall Lawton, who testified for the prosecution. “He also said Jim Crummel had told him, ‘If you ever tell anybody, I’ll [expletive] kill you.’ ”

The teenager was molested on five occasions between December 1994 and June 1995, during a time when Forgey was treating him at New Alternatives Home in Costa Mesa, Lawton said.

John Zitny, who represents Forgey, said no force had been used and that investigators were biased because of Forgey’s roommate.

In 1997, authorities had made public Crummel’s criminal background, under Megan’s Law, and a community outcry followed.

“There was an overreaction on the part of the police,” the defense attorney said. The teenager “voluntarily got in the car with Mr. Crummel. He voluntarily took a pill and then engaged in sexual conduct.”

Following the two-hour hearing, Superior Court Judge James K. Turner ruled that there was enough evidence to order Forgey to stand trial.


Crummel, the co-defendant in the case, is awaiting sentencing in San Bernardino County for sexually assaulting a Big Bear teenager in 1988.

He has not been returned to Orange County to face charges.