Young man accused of indecent exposure is schizophrenic

Posted: Sunday, October 24, 2010

The 20-year-old man arraigned in Juneau District Court Wednesday on alleged charges of indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and domestic violence has severe mental problems, according to his mother.

Matthew Douglas-Martin was born in Juneau but moved to Oregon, where his mother raised him after his parents divorced. He had been staying with his father and father's family in Juneau when the alleged domestic violence occurred, said his mother, Ronni Price. She flew in from Oregon two weeks ago to find help for her son.

"You may think this is just a mother speaking," Price said. "But this truly is not how my son acts. He is not a criminal. I am so desperate to find help for him. Please, Juneau, don't think he is a bad young man."

According to Price, her son suffered two traumatic brain injuries at age 16 - one while playing football and the other in a car accident. He turned to drugs shortly after and was diagnosed as psychotic at age 17. He was seeing a psychiatrist in Oregon for several months and was on medication for a short time. Once he turned 18, Price stated she could no longer assist him with his mental illness.

According to Price, Douglas-Martin came to live with his father's family in Juneau at age 19. On a return visit to Oregon this January, he showed extreme signs of psychosis and Price pleaded against a return to Alaska, trying to convince him to see a psychiatrist. Instead, Price said, family members bought him a plane ticket to Alaska.

"I have been trying for three years to get him help," Price said. "He has been getting into trouble because of his psychosis. If I can't get him help I am afraid he is going to get stuck into the criminal justice system."

Late Friday, after threatening to commit suicide if his mother returned to Oregon without him, Douglas-Martin voluntarily admitted himself to the Mental Health Unit at Bartlett Memorial Hospital, according to Price.

He also followed through with the intake process at Juneau Alliance for Mental Health Inc. and will not be released if determined to be a danger to himself.

"If he is going to be a danger to anyone it will be to himself," Price said. "Matthew lives in a permanent state of fear and his thought process is nothing that even resembles normal. He has never hurt anyone and I cannot imagine that he ever would. My concern is that he may hurt himself, as many people with mental illness do."

Price returned to Oregon Saturday for work and hopes to save enough money for a return visit.

An assault charge Douglas-Martin is appearing in court for on Oct. 26 could possibly be dropped, according to Price, as attorneys have told her it was Douglas-Martin who was assaulted by a girlfriend and he defended himself.

It was just after an initial hearing Oct. 20 on that matter when Douglas-Martin became very agitated while in his mother's car and jumped out. He then exposed his buttocks to a middle school bus, ran from police and was subsequently arrested, according to court records.

"He was terrified," Price said. "That is why he ran. He doesn't know what is happening, he only knows he is terrified."

• Contact reporter Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or at klas.stolpe@juneauempire.com.



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