Accused Man Opens Insanity Defense In Sex Abuse Case

ELYRIA, Ohio (AP) - A man accused of illegal sexual acts with young girls is arguing that he was insane.

"His mental illnesses are many, and they are varied," lawyer James Burge said Tuesday, describing what he called Richard Armstrong's mood disorders and obsessions.

Armstrong, 35, of Amherst Township, is charged with multiple counts of rape and pandering obscenity involving a minor. Four girls, 10 to 17 years old, were sexually abused for five years beginning in 1996, Lorain County prosecutors allege.

Armstrong has pleaded innocent by reason of insanity. He has been held in jail without bond. Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Kosma Glavas is presiding over the trial.

The members of the jury are expected to view videotapes that Armstrong made while raping the girls or forcing them to engage in sex with a dog or each other, Assistant County Prosecutor Anthony Cillo said.

"On some 60 occasions he took nude pictures of one of the girls," Cillo said.

Police say they found bondage equipment and child pornography in Armstrong's home and business, North Coast Multi Media Advertising Group, in Elyria.

Cillo said that, far from being mentally ill, Armstrong bragged to an inmate at the Lorain County Jail that he liked what he did and has more child pornography hidden away.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)