Eight new victims found in Mitchusson assault case
By JENNIFER MORRIS
North Kitsap Herald Reporter
April 2, 2009 · Updated 2:28 PM
PORT ORCHARD — Prosecutors have uncovered eight additional probable cause charges against former Poulsbo Mayor Richard A. 'Mitch' Mitchusson, according to the Kitsap County Sheriff's Office.
Mitchusson was charged last week on five counts, including two indecent liberty felony counts, two counts of sexually motivated assault and one count of stalking. Thirteen alleged victims have now been identified, with a total possible of nearly 30, KCSO spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson said. Detectives continue to investigate.
New charges against Mitchusson include one of second-degree burglary with second-degree rape attached, Wilson said.
Mitchusson, 70, is now in custody in lieu of $200,000 bail. He is scheduled to go to trial in May, but a key medical diagnosis could postpone the case for months.
KCSO reported dozens of potential victims have stepped forward since Mitchusson's March 25 arrest.
Defense attorney Matt Clucas said Wednesday Mitchusson has been under a doctor's care for some time for various ailments, and at one point his doctors began to suspect dementia. Clucas said a brain scan showed damage to Mitchusson's frontal temporal lobes, possibly signaling Pick's Disease, a point Clucas argued at a preliminary court appearance for Mitchusson last week.
Pick's Disease, said to be difficult to diagnose and without a cure, is a dementia associated with the shrinking of the frontal and temporal anterior lobes of the brain. Its symptoms often result in behavioral problems such as impulsivity, inappropriate social behavior, lack of social tact and increased interest in sex, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Clucas said it's possible Mitchusson will be transferred from county jail to Western State Hospital for care, a process that could take weeks or months. Western State specializes in dementia, he said.
"It is very doubtful the medical examinations would be conducted in time to have a trial before the fall," Clucas explained in an email. The defense is still waiting to receive Mitchusson's complete medical records.
"His current access to medical care while in the jail is concerning," added Clucas, who said Mitchusson also suffers heart and cancer problems. "The jail does the best they can with their resources but they really are not set up to deal with these types of senior health issues."
Clucas added though Mitchusson's symptoms have not yet been diagnosed by a doctor, they haven't gone unnoticed.
"Members of both the jail staff and the court staff have all noted Mr. Mitchusson clearly has some form of dementia and they are doing all they can to assist with the complications that brings," he said.
According to the Kitsap County Prosecutor's Office, Mitchusson is next scheduled to appear in court April 23. His trial is slated to begin May 11 and will close by May 26 unless specifically extended or postponed.Contact North Kitsap Herald Reporter Jennifer Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-779-4464.