Norman found fit for trial
Report: Norman has symptoms of depression, but has no mental defect
A Cassville man facing three federal counts involving illicit sexual activity with children was recently found to be fit to stand trial following a mental evaluation.
Chase Norman, 24, of Cassville, is charged with two counts of using a means of interstate commerce to entice a minor to engage in illicit sexual activity, and one count of enticement of a minor to produce child pornography.
In December 2014, at the request of Ian Lewis, Norman's attorney and public defender, the court ordered a psychological evaluation, which was completed by Dr. David Szyhowski, psychologist at the Metropolitan Correction Center in Chicago. Norman was evaluated from Dec. 29, 2014, until Feb. 20, and the report was submitted to the court on March 5.
According to court documents, Szyhowski ruled Norman is competent to proceed.
"At the present time, Mr. Norman presents with symptoms of depression," he said in the report to the court. "However, he does not appear to be suffering from any severe mental disease or defect that has impacted his ability to understand the legal proceedings or to properly assist his counsel.
"His competency-related abilities do not appear to be compromised by a severe mental disease or defect at this time. He presently appears appropriate for continuation of criminal proceedings."
Regarding Norman's state of mind, Szyhowski said actions during the time period of the alleged offense suggest Norman maintained sufficient capacity to appreciate the nature, quality and wrongfulness of the behaviors attributed to him."
Norman's jury trial was set for Jan. 23, but the mental evaluation pushed that date back, and a new date has not yet been determined.
In an affidavit filed on Oct. 10, 2014, James Smith, task force officer with Homeland Security Investigations, said Norman allegedly exchanged obscene photos and attempted to engage in sexual acts with a 12-year-old Purdy girl.
On Sept. 23, 2014, the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force assisted Purdy Police in an investigation involving Norman, who was suspected of sending and receiving obscene photos of the girl using an iPod app called KIK.
Purdy Police Chief Jackie Lowe obtained consent from the girl's mother to search an iPod belonging to the girl, which allegedly revealed numerous chat communications, where Norman referenced sexual acts and asked for explicit photos of the girl.
Norman also allegedly added the girl as a friend on Facebook and contacted her via SnapChat. The child indicated the two talked about three times per day through KIK, where Norman requested and sent explicit photos.
On Oct. 6, 2014, police obtained permission from the girl's mother to take over the KIK and Facebook accounts of the child, initiating undercover contact with Norman.
He was arrested in a sting operation in Purdy, and he allegedly admitted to having KIK conversations with a girl who said she was 13. He said he originally met the girl on the website, MeetMe.com, and she originally said she was 18 years old, later telling him she was 13. When confronted about the content of the chats and scheduled meeting with the child, Norman allegedly admitted he had planned to pick her up and take her to his Cassville apartment to engage in consensual sexual acts.
Norman also allegedly revealed the girl was not the first he had met online and arranged to meet in person. He said in the summer of 2013, he met a 14-year-old girl from Monett and engaged in consensual sex.