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Gang-Rape Defendant’s Bail Revoked

Times Staff Writer

A former assistant sheriff’s troubled son, who is a gang-rape defendant, will be jailed or confined to a mental health ward until the trial ends, an Orange County judge ruled Monday.

Superior Court Judge Francisco P. Briseno revoked the young man’s bail after prosecutors said Gregory Haidl’s repeated brushes with the law made him a menace to society. The judge will decide today how Haidl will be confined until the retrial is over.

Haidl’s psychiatrist testified Monday that the 19-year-old defendant was suicidal and had tried to kill himself twice in recent weeks by taking tranquilizers he’d bought from street dealers. He said putting Haidl in jail would be disastrous to his mental health.

Monday’s ruling is the latest twist in a case in which Haidl and two friends are accused of raping a seemingly unconscious girl on a couch and pool table at the Corona del Mar home of then-Orange County Assistant Sheriff Donald Haidl, the defendant’s father.

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The trial, which drew national media attention, ended in July with jurors deadlocked but leaning toward acquittal on nearly every count. A second trial is set to start Jan. 31.

The judge’s order Monday came two weeks after Haidl crashed his car into another and tested positive for alcohol. That occurred two months after he was in the same courtroom pledging not to break any laws after a rash of legal scrapes that followed the gang-rape charges.

“I think he’s gotten a lot of breaks,” Chief Assistant Dist. Atty. Charles Middleton said outside court after the judge revoked bail. “It is about time.”

Briseno has said an alternative to putting Haidl in jail is keeping him in the psychiatric ward where he has been confined since the Oct. 30 collision and posting a sheriff’s deputy at the hospital around the clock to make sure he does not leave. Haidl’s family would be responsible for the estimated $75 an hour it would cost to pay for deputy service at the undisclosed hospital.

Regardless of where he ends up, prosecutors said they were relieved that Haidl would no longer be free.

“Whether he has a sheriff outside his door or he’s in jail,” Middleton said, “keeping him away from the public is important.”

Dr. Irwin Rosenfeld, the psychiatrist who has been treating Haidl, said his patient had been anxious and depressed for the last two weeks. Rosenfeld said that when Haidl’s mother called to tell her son Monday morning that the judge had revoked his bail, Haidl’s depression intensified to the point that he was placed on suicide watch, with a staff member’s presence required at all times.

The judge had tightened Haidl’s bail terms in August, after the defendant was charged with one misdemeanor count of statutory rape after he allegedly had sex with an underage girl he met hours after a mistrial was declared.

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Haidl’s other legal tangles have included accusations of vandalism, trespassing and possession of marijuana.


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