, Salem, MA

Local News

June 25, 2014

Update: Report states Chism 'psychotic' after attack on clinician

In newly released documents, psychologist says teen 'out of touch with reality' after June assault

DANVERS — Immediately after attacking a female staff member at a Department of Youth Services detention center earlier this month, Philip Chism appeared to be “psychotic,” according to documents released Tuesday by a judge.

Chism, 15, was “yelling, screaming incoherently (and) foaming at the mouth while being restrained by staff,” according to the petition to have him committed to Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital for 30 days of mental health evaluation and treatment.

Read the request for commitment

The petition was among additional documents that were unsealed by Salem Superior Court Judge Howard Whitehead in response to a motion filed on behalf of The Salem News. Last week, the judge released a motion by prosecutors outlining their concerns about security at the Worcester facility and other documents related to Chism’s hospitalization.

The judge also unsealed, at the request of the newspaper’s attorney, a transcript of a hearing conducted on June 10 at the judge’s bench, out of earshot of a reporter.

During that hearing, the transcript reveals, prosecutor Kate MacDougall discussed her concerns about the security at the Worcester facility, and a Department of Mental Health attorney attempted to reassure the court that Chism is receiving “constant one-to-one observation.”

Chism is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, 24, of Andover, who, police say, was followed into a school bathroom by Chism and attacked on Oct. 22. He is also charged with raping her twice and robbing her.

He had been held at the DYS Metropolitan detention center because he is legally a juvenile, though he’s being tried as an adult on the murder charge.

The petition for commitment, signed by psychologist Kenneth Rogers on June 4, describes the June 2 attack on a woman described as a clinician at the Dorchester facility, where, prosecutors say, he crouched out of view of observers and followed her into a locker room, armed with a pencil.

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