The wife of the former Wharton professor who killed himself in prison after admitting to molesting a four-year-old girl is suing a prison psychiatrist, charging that the doctor could have done more to prevent the suicide. (**EDS NOTE - CORRECTION - Pleaded Guilty to reduced charges NOT Rape charges) The late Wharton faculty member, Accounting Professor Claude Colantoni, was accused of raping a four-year-old girl in April 1987, and later resigned his tenured position before pleading guilty to the charges. Colantoni was given the maximum sentence of one to two years imprisonment, but committed suicide on December 21, 1987, while in the Delaware County jail. Proceedings in the federal civil case began Friday at the Eastern Federal District Court in Center City, with Colantoni's widow, Norma, charging psychiatrist Satyendra Diwan with medical misconduct. Psychiatrists had placed Colantoni on various 'suicide watches' during his internment, ranging from hand and foot restraints to sedation, to prevent him from killing or otherwise damaging himself, according to the Diwan's sworn deposition read in the courtroom. But at the time of his suicide, the suit claims, Diwan had placed Colantoni in an isolation cell without restraints and ordered 15-minute checks even after Colantoni repeatedly threatened suicide, reported hallucinations and feelings of persecution. Diwan maintained in his deposition that he felt Colantoni's condition was improving at the time of the suicide and did not require restraints. "There was a belief that he would not act out again, but that he still had suicidal tendencies, therefore he was not in restraints or in a stripped cell, but only kept on 15 minute [checks]," Diwan states in the deposition. Colantoni hanged himself with a bedsheet during a five-minute interval between checks. Friday's testimony consisted solely of the opening arguements and Diwan's deposition. Colantoni's widow is expected to take the stand today.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.