November 15, 1997 in Nation/World

Prosecutors: Kaczynski Sought Psychiatric Help Unabomber Suspect Wrote To Therapists, Despite Claim He Is Scared Of Psychiatrists

Rich Harris Associated Press

Unabomber suspect Theodore Kaczynski sought mental health help several times between 1988 and 1993, contrary to defense claims that he is terrified of psychiatrists, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors on Friday supplied excerpts from several letters from Kaczynski to various mental health centers, in which Kaczynski seeks counseling.

In the letters, Kaczynski suggests that he and the therapist conduct his sessions by mail, saying that he cannot afford to travel from his remote Montana cabin to the sessions.

“I suppose this would be an unusual arrangement, but, as I’ve already mentioned, I can’t afford repeated trips to Helena, so I don’t see how else to handle the matter,” Kaczynski wrote in a July 1988 letter to Mental Health Services Inc. in Helena.

“Actually, I’d even PREFER to handle it this way because, in writing, I can express what I have to say much more precisely, clearly, and completely than I can in speaking.”

The letters were included in court papers filed by the prosecution, which wants U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell Jr. to bar the defense from offering any testimony about Kaczynski’s mental state.

The defendant has refused to undergo a court-ordered psychiatric examination sought by the government, which said it needed to do its own testing of Kaczynski to counter any mental defense he might offer.

When Kaczynski balked, prosecutors asked Burrell to bar the subject altogether.

Defense lawyers Quin Denvir and Judy Clarke had claimed in a court papers filed Wednesday that Kaczynski had refused to submit to the testing because he is terrified of psychiatrists, a fear they said was part of a broader belief that “every aspect of his existence is controlled by an omnipotent organization against which he is powerless.”

Jury selection for Kaczynski’s trial began Wednesday; there was no court session on Friday.

Kaczynski, 55, faces a 10-count federal indictment in four bombings between 1978 and 1995.

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