Porn star Ron Jeremy unfit for rape trial, judge rules

Porn star Ron Jeremy is not mentally competent to stand trial, a judge has ruled, halting attempts to prosecute him for a dozen rapes and other alleged sex crimes.

Tuesday's ruling came almost a year after Jeremy was ordered to undergo psychiatric exams after his attorney suggested the adult film performer was struggling to recognize him.

Jeremy, who has appeared in more than 1,700 X-rated films since the 1970s, had denied a raft of sex charges against women and girls between the ages of 15 and 51.

The allegations cover a period of 23 years, dating back to 1996.

Mental competency assessments were ordered after attorney Stuart Goldfarb said in March last year he had visited his client in a holding cell before a hearing.

"He was unable to determine who I was," Goldfarb said.

The Los Angeles Times, citing an email it has obtained, previously reported mental health experts for both the prosecution and defense had determined Jeremy suffers from severe dementia with little chance of recovery.

"As a result of the agreement of the experts, the defendant will be declared incompetent to stand trial... his prognosis for improvement is not good," Los Angeles County deputy district attorney Paul Thompson wrote in the email, the newspaper said.

"If he does not improve, we will not be able to try him for his crimes. Because criminal proceedings are suspended as long as he is incompetent, we also cannot get a guilty plea from him or discuss other measures to get justice for the victims in this case."

A spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney told AFP on Wednesday that a hearing to determine where Jeremy would be placed has been set for February 7.

That could mean he is committed to a state hospital.

Jeremy was initially charged in January 2020, and prosecutors subsequently added a battery of other sex-related complaints against him, alleging criminality over several decades of his prolific career.

He had previously denied all charges against him.

A declaration of mental incompetency is not set in stone, and if a defendant's health improves through medication or treatment, they can face trial at a later date.

However, dementia is a progressive condition, and sufferers generally degenerate over time.

Born Ronald Jeremy Hyatt, the performer appeared in adult movies such as "Deep Throat II" and "John Wayne Bobbitt Uncut."

With his trademark moustache, he was one of the industry's most recognizable stars among the wider public.

But he has long been dogged by assault claims and has been barred from industry events in recent years.

After the initial charges were brought against Jeremy in 2020, Goldfarb denied all the allegations and insisted his client was "not a rapist."

"Ron -- over the years, because of who he is -- has essentially been a paramour to over 4,000 women. And to allege that he is a rapist is beyond... I mean, women throw themselves at him," he added.

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