Prosecutor calls cult mom’s psych claim a sham

The Boston Herald, July 23, 2003
by David Weber

The prosecutor in the murder case against an Attleboro religious cult member charged with starving her infant son to death accused the mother of faking psychological ailments that prompted a judge yesterday to again proclaim her unfit to stand trial.

“To put it bluntly, I think it’s (expletive),” Bristol Assistant District Attorney Walter Shea said to reporters about Karen Robidoux, 27, who has been diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. “Apparently when she discusses the case, she breaks down and cries and can’t deal with the fact of the death of her child, which obviously according to the indictment, the commonwealth believes she is responsible for.”

Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Donovan accepted a report yesterday from Taunton State Hospital psychiatrist Dr. Charlotte Denton, who essentially said Robidoux appears to be mentally sound except when discussing the death of her son, Samuel. Donovan scheduled a hearing on Sept. 23 to review Robidoux’s status.

Robidoux, whose husband, Jacques, has been convicted of first-degree murder in the death of their son, was about to begin her trial in January when the issue of her competence first arose.

Defense attorney Joseph Krowski said he resented Shea’s implication that he and his client were trying to fool the court.

“This is just (Bristol) District Attorney Paul Walsh and Wally Shea’s attempt to poison the well,” Krowski said. “They know (Robidoux) was at the mercy of the people who controlled that cult.”

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