Lewiston man suspected of sex abuse of a child found incompetent to stand trial

LOGAN — A 20-year-old Lewiston man, suspected of sexually abusing a child, has been found incompetent to stand trial.

Christopher R. VanDam appeared in 1st District Court Tuesday morning. He was previously charged with forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony.

Cache County Sheriff’s deputies arrested VanDam in February on suspicion of sodomy on a child, sex abuse of a child, sexual battery and bestiality. Investigators claimed at least five victims were abused, ranging in age from four-to-13-years-old. The abuse allegedly occurred in August 2017 and was ongoing for several years.

In March, a judge ordered a competency evaluation for VanDam, to determine whether he understood the court proceedings against him and could defend himself. Two independent therapists interviewed him at the Cache County Jail.

During Tuesday’s hearing, state attorney Jacob Gordon said both evaluations found VanDam was incompetent. He asked the court to transfer the defendant to the Utah State Hospital for treatment.

Judge Brian Cannell asked VanDam’s public defender to file the transfer request. He expressed hope that doctors will be able to restore the defendant’s competency, so they can proceed with the case.

VanDam will remain in jail until being transferred. He faces up to 15-years in prison if convicted. He is scheduled to appear again in court July 10.


Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.