Suspect in rape was diagnosed as bipolar

Scholes had been in court-ordered therapy after earlier conviction

Posted: Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The man charged with kidnapping and raping a 15-year-old Juneau girl was in court-ordered therapy for mental illness earlier this year, according to court documents.

Christopher Scholes, 39, is accused of grabbing the girl while she was walking near Floyd Dryden Middle School, abducting her to a house and sexually assaulting her on the evening of Dec. 1. The girl reported the crime the next day.

She identified Scholes in a photo lineup, according to court records.

Juneau police said the victim and the kidnapper did not know each other.

Scholes was arrested in the San Juan Islands, Wash., on Dec. 8. He was being held at Island County jail Monday evening. Juneau police said he was to be extradited to Juneau.

He faces charges for seven counts each of first-degree sexual assault and second-degree sexual assault of a minor. He was also charged with kidnapping, second-degree assault and tampering with physical evidence.

Scholes pleaded guilty in August this year to misdemeanors for entering an empty Juneau home in November 2007 and fraudulently charging $95 in phone sex, about 11 minutes' worth, to the homeowner's credit card. The homeowner was a family friend who winters in California, and Scholes apparently knew where an emergency key was kept.

Scholes came to psychotherapist Roger Abernathy for help with what Scholes called sex addiction, wrote Abernathy in a July letter in court files.

Abernathy diagnosed Scholes with bipolar disorder, a mental illness characterized by wide mood swings that's also known as manic depression. Abernathy referred him to psychiatrist Vernon Stillner, who prescribed lithium.

By late July, Scholes had been on lithium for two weeks. Abernathy wrote then that Scholes was "highly motivated" to help himself. He had made "considerable progress," had stopped using marijuana and drinking alcohol, and would keep seeing Abernathy for sex addiction.

Abernathy wrote, "With his medication and his counseling and psychotherapy, Mr. Scholes can be a productive and outstanding citizen."

In a July letter in court files, psychiatrist Stillner said imprisoning Scholes would interfere with his treatment. Stillner also said Scholes' medical condition might have affected his behavior.

Scholes was sentenced to 10 months in prison, with nine of them suspended and one month converted to 240 hours of community service.

He was also ordered to continue mental health treatment at Rainforest Recovery Center, an addiction and substance abuse clinic.

Juneau District Attorney Doug Gardner said his office has not filed any petitions to revoke Scholes' probation. Such filings may result if treatment providers tell prosecutors that defendants haven't been complying with the court's orders. Gardner said he wasn't aware of any such statements.

• Contact reporter Kate Golden at 523-2276 or e-mail

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