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Escapee was troubled patient


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POSTED: Tuesday, December 08, 2009

An escaped mental patient who has eluded police for four days poses such a danger to himself and others that the state Health Department asked a judge for permission to administer drugs to him against his will.

The request came a day before David True Seal, 30, escaped Thursday from the Hawaii State Hospital.

The health director asked a Maui judge to allow the hospital to administer antipsychotic, mood-stabilizing and other drugs to Seal because of the danger he poses and to treat his symptoms of mental illness, according to documents filed in Maui Circuit Court.

A hearing on the request was scheduled for 9 a.m. this Thursday.

Seal, who had tried to escape twice before, was acquitted in Maui Circuit Court by reason of insanity after the second of two alleged attempts of sexual assault on girls under age 10 and kidnapping. He was committed April 22, 2002, to the State Hospital in Kaneohe.

; Documents say that in one of the attempted escapes, in 2006, Seal tried scaling a high wire fence. He also had an alleged recent “;episode of an overt sexual assault involving another patient,”; according to documents.

On Thursday afternoon Seal scaled a 14-foot mesh fence and fled the facility toward Kaneohe town. Police, including a helicopter and a canine unit, scoured the area near the “;Stairway to Heaven”; hiking trail in Haiku Valley.

Seal, whose IQ is high — in the low 120s — was diagnosed with schizophrenia after his arrest for the second attempted sex assault offense, and “;had reported significant difficulties with voices and paranoia at the time of the offenses,”; his treating physician said in a proposed treatment plan dated Nov. 4 and filed with the court.

Seal had been denied release by the court in November 2006. It was then that he tried to escape twice.

At one point during his hospitalization, Seal was granted the special privilege of working in the community. That, however, ended when an outside therapist terminated him because Seal believed he did not need therapy.

On May 21, Judge Joseph Cardoza denied his request for conditional release because “;the court cannot conclude that the defendant does not pose a risk,”; court minutes showed.

Most recently, on Nov. 3, Seal had grabbed a “;weaker patient by his head and thrust it into his crotch and forcefully moved it back and forth towards his genitals as if to simulate oral sex,”; and showed no remorse, court documents said.

Seal also swung at a staff member on May 30, 2008, with a closed fist, took a fighting stance and grabbed his crotch in a defiant manner, documents said.

In 2007 he also has hit a staff person in the arm after taking food from a patient, hit a patient in the face and threw a carton of milk at a staff member, court documents said.

The “;progressively aggressive and assaultive behavior”; prompted the request for involuntary treatment, the court document said.

The doctor concluded Seal was uncooperative in taking his medications, remains a threat to himself and others in and out of the hospital, and continues to display psychotic symptoms of paranoia, suspiciousness and disorganized and grandiose thinking, the hospital psychiatrist said in the proposed treatment plan filed in court.

Seal refused to continue two low-dose trials of antipsychotic drugs, which improved his thinking and behavior, the court documents said. He consented to recommended polygraph readings in 2005 that showed deception regarding questions of sexual motivation, but another test, which uses flashes of people, showed he did not have a sexual fixation on underage girls, according to the proposed plan.

Department of Health officials declined to comment.