Ex-porn star deemed incompetent, likely won’t have to stand trial for dozens of sex-related charges, including rape: ‘He’s lost some cognitive abilities’

News & Politics

The prosecution of infamous former porn star Ron Jeremy, 69, has likely come to an end after a Los Angeles court declared on Tuesday that he was incompetent to stand trial.

Jeremy, whose real name is Ronald Jeremy Hyatt, began making X-rated films in the 1970s. In the ensuing decades, he starred in more than 2,000 films, only some of which are pornographic, and became one of the most recognizable faces of the porn industry. His last on-screen appearance came in 2020.

In June of that year, women began to come forward and level serious accusations of sexual assault against Hyatt. In all, 21 women claimed that Hyatt had attacked them on separate occasions, beginning in 1996. Most of the women claimed that he would strike up a conversation with them at a local bar and grille, which he often frequented. He would then allegedly lure them into a bathroom or other small space, block their escape, and then force himself on them. The victims ranged between 15 and 51 years old at the time they were allegedly attacked.

In August 2021, Hyatt was formally charged with nearly three dozen crimes, including 12 counts of forcible rape, seven counts of forcible oral copulation, six counts of sexual battery by restraint, four counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object, two counts of sexual penetration of an unconscious or asleep person, and one count each of lewd act upon a child under the age of 14 or 15 and sodomy by use of force and assault with intent to commit rape. He pled not guilty to all charges.

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His trial began months later but screeched to a halt in March 2022 when he was physically unable to appear in court, even though he was then housed in the same building. His attorney, Stuart Goldfarb, and the bailiff both confirmed that Hyatt had been uncooperative when they attempted to place him in a wheelchair.

“I was just up in the cell where he was being kept, and I tried to get his attention unsuccessfully,” Goldfarb said at the time. “He was unable to determine who I was and wouldn’t accommodate both myself and the bailiff to fit into the wheelchair to come down here. I don’t think he should be forced to come down here under these circumstances.”

A judge then immediately ordered that Hyatt be tested for cognitive impairment, sending the case to a mental health court. In July, a psychologist hired by the defense determined that Hyatt was incompetent, and a psychiatrist on behalf of the state made the same determination in October. Earlier this month, District Attorney Paul Thompson reportedly told the New York Times that both sides had agreed that Hyatt now suffers from severe dementia. Thompson also dismissed suggestions that Hyatt might be faking his condition.

On Tuesday, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Robert S. Harrison made the official ruling: “Mr. Hyatt is not competent for trial. Both reports indicate Mr. Hyatt suffers from an incurable neurocognitive decline, and he would most likely not be restorable.” Hyatt was not present to hear the ruling.

“He’s lost some cognitive abilities,” Goldfarb later told reporters, “and he can’t assist his defense because his memory is not there.”

A hearing to determine whether to place Hyatt in a state mental hospital will be held on February 7. His criminal trial is unlikely to resume, though prosecutors vowed to continue evaluating his condition.

“When he was arrested two years ago, I said he would be found innocent of all charges,” Goldfarb also stated. “Two years have passed and with the additional discovery I received, I believed he would have been found innocent. It is unfortunate due to mental condition he will not go to trial and have the the opportunity to clear his name.”

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