Lufkin woman accused of sexually assaulting teen, causing depression ruled incompetent

Nita McElrath (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Nita McElrath (Source: Angelina County Jail)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - An Angelina County judge issued a ruling Tuesday that said a Lufkin woman who is accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl over a period of several months is too incompetent to stand trial at this time.

"At this time she has not even been indicted. I filed a motion with the court because I could not effectively work with her or represent her due to the mental health problems that she was having," said McElrath's defense attorney, Al Charanza. "So, even before indictment I needed to address these mental health problems right away."

Nita Ranae McElrath, 19, appeared in Judge Barry Bryan's 217th Judicial District Court Tuesday morning.

Dr. Joseph Kartye performed an evaluation and found that she was incompetent. Based on previous hospital records and the psychiatrist's evaluation, the judge agreed.

Charanza said she has been diagnosed as bipolar and has schizophrenia. She will be admitted into a mental facility within the next few months to be treated.

Bryan said medication will determine if her competency can be restored. If this does work, she will be sent back to face trial.

It is up to the staff at the facility she is admitted into to determine how long she will need to stay.

This case is still the same; only the status of the defendant has changed.

According to a previous East Texas News story, investigators with the Angelina County Sheriff's Office began looking into the case in August after the victim's mother discovered her daughter had gone into depression and began cutting herself.

McElrath is charged with first-degree aggravated sexual assault of a child.

According to the affidavit, the victim's mother said the depression was sudden and unexplainable, and the victim opened up to her and said McElrath had begun doing sexual acts to her and had forced the victim to do the same to her.

A Harold's House counselor interviewed the victim, who said McElrath sexually assaulted her on six occasions, dating back to the end of 2012. She said the sexual acts were not consensual.

The sheriff's office obtained a warrant for McElrath's arrest on April 13 and she was booked into the Angelina County Jail on the charge on Aug. 29.

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