A Crime Of The Mind

Is He Guilty?

Eight years ago, when Jane first walked into his Orlando, Florida, psychiatry practice, Dr. Ronald Malave says he had no idea what he was in for. He ended up accused of having sex with her, a patient with multiple personality disorder.

Jane, who asked that her last name not be used, has been married for 13 years, and has raised a teenage daughter. That's remarkable, considering that she's been diagnosed as having as many as eight personalities.

Jane had been referred to Malave by a colleague who said he couldn't help her anymore. Before long, Malave understood why. Jane was hearing voices and having psychotic hallucinations. He diagnosed her with a type of schizophrenia, along with the sometimes-controversial condition commonly known as multiple personality disorder. "It's embarrassing, it's mortifying, because I don't have a switch that I can control. I just want the voices to be gone. That's all," she says.

"The core Jane would be a polite, apologetic patient," he says. But some of her other personalities were quite different. "Vanessa" was brash and aggressive. "Bridgette" was 16 and preoccupied with sex.

A year into therapy, Malave claims, "Bridgette" wanted to have sex with him. Dr. Malave says he told her no. Happily married for 23 years, he was devoted to his wife and two children.

But "Bridgette" was so insistent that, after treating Jane for another two years, Malave decided he was in over his head. He suggested Jane check into a special hospital program for people with multiple personality disorder. "I believe she felt rejected. I believe she felt abandoned. And in a fatal attraction kind of response, she wanted to retaliate," he says.

Malave says she began to stalk him, leaving messages and faxes and emails, some sexually explicit. She once even brought a gun to his office, he says. But Jane says he's the real predator. During therapy, she says, he used her for sex.

Ex-patients defend Malave, saying he is a caring man. A veteran of the Army and Air Force, he married his high school sweetheart, Sonia from back home in Puerto Rico. They raised two children, Joe and Jessica. "We love each other. We trust each other," says Sonia.

But Jane's husband Richard, a retired postal worker is equally devoted to his family. He says Dr. Malave has virtually destroyed Jane, and their marriage. "She's had a horrible time being a wife, she can't be a wife," he says. What keeps the family together, he says, is their 15-year-old daughter.

Jane believes her mental illness comes from years of torment at the hands of her father, an allegation he denies. Jane has been suffering with mental illness since she was a teenager. By the time she came to Dr. Malave, she'd seen more than a dozen psychiatrists, had shock therapy, been hospitalized seven times, and tried to kill herself five times. When Jane changes personalities, she says she has no memory. She calls it "losing time."

She says when she became Bridgette, Malave took advantage and had sex with her. She realized what was happening when she returned to being Jane. "At one point when I came to myself and we were on the floor and he was on top of me," she says. She kept records on her calendar of 39 sexual encounters over a five-year period.

Malave says he is innocent: "I did not have sex with Jane and I have never had sex with any other of my patients, ever!"

Two years ago, Jane went to the authorities. She brought 10 pairs of her panties that she claimed had semen on them. Police asked doctor Malave for a blood sample to run DNA tests, and he gladly obliged.

The lab results showed that the sperm on Jane's panties belonged to Malave. He was arrested and charged with having sex with his patient, a felony, punishable by up to 18 years in prison. His medical license was suspended.

"I thought where did this come from? Yes I was in shock," says Malave.

What happens at Malave's trial? Find out about his extraordinary defense in Part II