The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

July 22, 2013

Court peers into Pollard's mind, traumatic past

OTTUMWA — The court went back in time through Bruce Pollard's traumatic childhood and ensuing mental health problems.

Pollard, 26, is charged with first-degree murder and first-degree robbery in the death of Cinema X manager Kenneth McDaniel on March 11, 2012.

Dr. Craig Rypma, a clinical and forensic psychologist, evaluated Pollard twice this spring, which led him to diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depression, a "ruled-out diagnosis" of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and a personality disorder "not otherwise specified," though Rypma leaned toward borderline personality disorder.

In a face-to-face interview with Rypma, Pollard described his childhood and family as "violent" and indicated that his parents abused alcohol and drugs. He described severe beatings at the hand of his biological father, as well as sexual abuse that began when he was 9 or 10 until he was 11.

"He somehow knew what his father wanted, was confused by it, didn't understand it, but liked the positive attention," Rypma said. "In the clinical interaction I had with Bruce, he presented in a way that is just right on with how hundreds of people that I've talked to in my career present sexual abuse.

"Patients aren't able to make this stuff up unless they have had some experience with it. He presented in a manner that convinced me this abuse had occurred."

The alleged sexual abuse led Pollard to become self-conscious about his body and confused about his sexuality, Rypma said.

"...Bruce had evolved in his sexual development in such a way that he felt that being gay was the worst thing that he could ever imagine ... I suspect because of his confusion regarding the sexual abuse by his dad," Rypma said.

This led to Rypma's diagnosis of PTSD, a disorder which, when the individual tries to stop thinking about the traumatic event, increases their level of anxiety.

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