Man who smashed Mendham monument …

The Record

Man who smashed Mendham monument to victims of sex abuse by priests likely going with insanity defense

Written by
Peggy Wright

A man with a history of mental illness, who is accused of using a sledgehammer to destroy a monument in Mendham dedicated to victims of sex abuse by priests, will possibly pursue an insanity defense, his lawyer said Monday.

Borough resident Gordon Ellis, 38, appeared in Superior Court, Morristown, for a brief status conference on charges filed against him in connection with the destruction Nov. 18, 2011, of a 400-pound millstone memorial outside St. Joseph Church.

The memorial, originally erected in 2004, has since been rebuilt and rededicated. The now-defrocked James Hanley had been a priest at St. Joseph, and he had admitted sexually abusing more than a dozen children during his tenure as a priest.

Ellis, who has received further psychiatric treatment since his arrest, is slated for examination by Dr. David Greenfield, a psychiatrist, according to defense lawyer Neill Hamilton. The lawyer later said he expects to pursue a mental disease defense or a finding that Ellis is not guilty by reason of insanity.

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