It’s been almost five years since Joseph Edmund Chiquet was arrested and charged with multiple counts of sex crimes involving a 15-year-old girl.
This week, for the second time since his arrest, the Bradenton Beach man has been placed into a state mental institution, deemed incompetent to stand trial.
Assistant State Attorney Anthony Dafonseca said a court hearing held last Wednesday lead to the placement. Judge Charles Roberts found Chiquet incompetent to stand trial after hearing a doctor’s testimony, according to Dafonseca.
While it seems like a blow to the prosecution of Chiquet, Defonseca said last time Chiquet was committed, his competency was restored in a matter of weeks and he returned to jail.
Manatee County clerk’s records show page after page of court documents referring to continuances, motions for competency hearings, sealed competency results, testimony of doctors, court dates set for trial, and court dates canceled for trial.
It’s been going on for five years. As a result, Chiquet has remained in jail awaiting trial longer than most defendants.
Chiquet was arrested in 2009 by the Bradenton Beach police. His charges include multiple counts of lewd and lascivious sexual battery on a child 12-15 years; possessing child pornography; promoting sexual performance by a child; and promoting the sexual performance by a child in a movie or photograph.
In addition, Chiquet’s bond was revoked on his original arrest in 2010 after he attempted to coerce the mother of his son to say she was the female who appeared in the photos. He allegedly offered her $10,000 to make the claim. She told prosecutors she listened to his offer, but never intended to do what he asked. Chiquet was arrested again in Sept. 2010, charged with witness tampering and facing additional charges of contempt of court relating to the original arrest.
Defonseca said he is the third prosecuting attorney who has been assigned the case. Prior to his assignment, Chiquet was offered a plea deal of 20 years by a different assistant state attorney.
It was rejected.
Defonseca said despite the delays, he remains focused on the prosecution of Chiquet.
“We absolutely intend to see this case go to trial. Myself, our office, the victim, Judge Roberts, we are pretty much determined that we will get the case to trial this year,” Defonseca said Friday.
Once Chiquet is deemed competent to stand trial, he will be transferred back to the Manatee County jail where he will remain held on no bond.
A call placed to Chiquet’s attorney by the Islander was not returned.