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Man awaiting sentencing in Zoloft rape case is found dead

10-27-2012 California:

Former Westminster Police Det. Anthony Orban was convicted of kidnapping and raping a waitress in 2010. His attorney says he committed suicide.

A 26-year-old rape victim stood before a subdued San Bernardino County courtroom Friday, and read a carefully drafted statement addressed to the former Westminster police detective who kidnapped and raped her two years earlier.

"I forgive you," she said, choking up.

But Anthony Orban, 33, was not there. Hours before, at 2:49 a.m., Orban was found unresponsive in his cell at the Central Detention Center in San Bernardino, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said. He was declared dead at the scene.

His attorney, James Blatt, said he was informed that Orban hanged himself. The Sheriff's Department declined to reveal details of Orban's death, which was under investigation.

The rape victim told the court she suffered post-traumatic stress disorder for two years and lost four months of her life to shock. She criticized Orban for failing to take responsibility for his actions, alluding to his claims that he suffered a blackout allegedly induced by the antidepressant Zoloft.

"While I was trying to get past my rage and shame and feelings of worthlessness, you maintained that you weren't responsible for your actions," she read.

Orban had testified that he had no recollection of abducting the waitress from the Ontario Mills Mall, then raping her near a Fontana self-storage lot in April 2010.

Zoloft, the Iraq War veteran said, triggered hallucinations and suicidal and homicidal fantasies in the days leading up to the attack.

Experts for both sides agreed during the trial that Orban suffered some form of blackout during the attack. But clinical psychologist Craig Rath, a witness called by the prosecution, testified that it had more to due with alcohol. On the day of the attack, Orban and a friend ordered eight margaritas and two pitchers of beer while barhopping, according to evidence presented at trial.

"He was not insane," Rath testified during the sanity phase of the trial. "He understood the nature and quality of his acts and could distinguish between right and wrong."

California law considers alcohol-induced blackout voluntary intoxication, which does meet the criteria for legal insanity.

Jurors convicted Orban of kidnapping, rape and multiple counts of sexual assault. He could have faced a sentence of more than 200 years, but his sentencing was on hold while a judge looked into allegations of juror misconduct.

Superior Court Judge Shahla S. Sabet told the court Friday that she had been prepared declare no jury misconduct took place, reject a motion for a new trial and sentence Orban to 82 years to life in prison, then tack on an additional 95 years.

After court, Blatt said he and his client had no prior knowledge that Sabet was prepared to deny a motion for a new trial. Orban, Blatt said, nonetheless had a feeling it was coming and that he would spend the rest of his life in prison as a convicted sex offender and a former police officer. Blatt said he last spoke to Orban about a month ago.

"All of us knew" suicide "was a possibility," Blatt told reporters outside court. "But when it happens it is a shock."

Retired Salvation Army Maj. Bill Nottle said he saw Orban on Thursday afternoon. He said his demeanor was what he had come to understand as normal: "very tired" due to what his actions and trial imposed upon his family.

After the victim spoke, Blatt told her and the court that the Orban family is "truly sorry" for their relative's actions and that they have been praying for her. Blatt added that Orban had expressed to him his "great remorse and shame for his actions."

Outside court, Deputy Dist. Atty. Debbie Ploghaus said that Orban took the "easy way out," and made the day in court about him, when it should have belonged to the victim, who was scheduled to read her statement.

Standing in front of a group of reporters on the second floor of the Rancho Cucamonga courthouse, the rape victim said she felt sorry for Orban's family after hearing the news, but also that "it felt good" to express her feelings and forgive Orban.

Still, she yearned for more.

"I really wanted to tell him myself," she said calmly. "That would have been the ultimate closure." ..Source.. by Andrew Khouri


Sadistic Rapist Cop Anthony Orban Kills Self in Jail

It can be a scary thing when we hear about cops who are just as prone to violent behavior as some of the most hardcore criminals. When you get into the details like those in the case of Anthony Nicolas Orban, one has to wonder how he ever came to be police in the first place.

As he defended himself in court from brutal rape and kidnapping accusations, Orban—a detective and 5-year veteran of the Westminster Police Department—claimed he was taking Zoloft and he was out of his mind at the time of the attacks.

When Orban, 33, turned up dead in his jail cell early Friday morning, whatever was left of his reputation—which was very little, by the way—died with him.

Our faith in Orban as a protector of the public began to waver when Ontario police arrested him April 3, 2010 and accused him of the brutal rape of a 25-year-old woman who was walking to her car after waiting tables at the Ontario Mills Dave & Buster’s.

Orban, who was off duty at the time, had been hanging out with a buddy, Jeff Thomas Jelinek, now 33, who was also off duty from his gig as a prison guard at California Institution for Men in Chino.

Orban and Jelinek saw the waitress leave Dave & Buster’s. That’s when they swooped in on her as she walked to her car, according to statements released Ontario police and later collaborated in court. He pulled a gun on the woman, forced her into her car and made her start driving. He left Jelinek behind.

The woman stopped near a storage facility on Base Line, near the 15 Freeway in Fontana. Orban taunted her, asked her if she was scared and asked her threatening questions about her child, she told investigators.

Then he forced her to give him a blowjob, according to police reports and court testimony.

But he wasn’t done. He ordered her to the backseat of her car and made her get undressed. The waitress told police that he raped her for about an hour after that.

When prosecutors first filed charges against Orban, they hit him with kidnapping, rape, forced oral sex, forced sodomy and sexual penetration with a foreign object causing bodily injury, which typically means fingers, but the waitress told police that Orban forced the barrel of his gun in her mouth during the rape, so that could count too.

And Orban—who, as a detective, knew firsthand how cell phone photos often break cases wide open—did the unthinkable and took cell phone photos of the entire sexual assault, sometimes pausing to force the waitress to smile for the camera. Then he sent the photos to Jelinek.

Orban allowed the waitress to get dressed before he took a phone call. Then he started acting weird, asking the waitress where they were and whose car they were in. The he started fiddling with his phone and that’s when she made a run for it.

She called police from a liquor store. The off-duty detective also took off, but not before leaving his gun—his service weapon with his name engraved on it—in the waitress’ car.

He called Jelinek and asked him to give him a ride, which Jelinek did, dutifully.

Police arrested both men later that evening. In an interview, investigators asked him about the event that would undoubtedly haunt the waitress for the rest of her life. Strangely, Orban claimed not to remember any of it.

Orban pleaded not guilty to the litany of felonies thrown at him. Jelinek did the same when he was charged with being a lookout and assisting after Orban kidnapped and brutally raped a woman at gunpoint.

At first, Orban’s attorneys portrayed him as a good cop and former Marine with no history of criminal behavior. When that didn’t work, they came up with the Zoloft defense, claiming Orban suffered a psychotic break from reality because of the drug and an anti-seizure medication he was taking.

That didn’t work either.

Jelinek wound up taking a plea deal—copping to being an accessory to a felony, false imprisonment and assault with a firearm and was sentenced to more than five years in prison. He testified against Orban as part of that deal.

A jury convicted Orban in June of eight felonies. He was sent back to jail to await sentencing. And that’s where he’s been ever since, held on $2 million bail.

He was set to be sentenced in August, but the sentencing has been pushed back again and again—as Orban’s attorneys argued that at least one juror acted inappropriately by speaking to other jurors about her own use of Zoloft.

Orban was set to appear in court Friday to finally learn his fate for causing irreparable damage to a woman whose only crime was walking back to her car after doing her job.

And Orban, the man who refused to take any responsibility for his brutal and sadistic crimes by first claiming to have no memory of it and later blaming the Zoloft for making him crazy, found a way to make sure he’d never have to answer for what he did.

Deputies at Central Detention Center in San Bernardino checked on Orban in the pre-dawn hours Friday. They found him without a pulse. He was pronounced dead in his cell.

He was kept in protective custody—in a single-man cell, so it’s unlikely that anyone broke in there and killed him. Is it possible? Anything’s possible, but sheriff’s officials say it was a suicide. Coroner’s officials will conduct an autopsy to be sure. Orban’s attorney told reporters last week that his client hung himself.

So his case is over. Orban faced spending the rest of his life in prison and now that he’s dead the rest of us might think, “Well, served him right.” But it’s important to remember that Orban’s death means a very important part of the judicial process will never come to be and once again, the waitress is left the victim.

Sentencing hearings are often emotionally charged spectacles, as the victims and their families are given the chance to address the convicted directly, in their own words. Sometimes the victims lash out, calling their attackers monsters and pieces of trash—or worse. Other times, victims find it within themselves to forgive the convicted and will say so in front of packed courtrooms.

What’s important is the chance for the victims to take part in the sentencing process, to say whatever they need to say, however they need to say it to gain some semblance of closure and attempt to move on with their lives.

But because Orban was too cowardly to face the music and take responsibility for what he did to the waitress, she will never have that opportunity. She will never be able to look him in the eye and tell him whatever she needed to tell him so she could move forward with her life and put his actions as far behind her as possible.

And while you might be hard-pressed to find anyone outside Orban’s family who would refer to what he did to himself as a tragedy, you’d also likely find too few people remembering that his suicide again robbed the waitress of what she’s waited for since that horrible day in April 2010: justice. ..Source.. by Jesse B. Gill

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