Judge: Centennial Park child rape suspect unfit for trial

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at 2:34pm

A judge deemed the man accused of raping a child in a Centennial Park bathroom mentally unfit to stand trial at present.

Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Monte Watkins said Scobey Sowell Jr., 64, should be committed to the Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute for mental illness treatment.

Police arrested Sowell in May 2008 for allegedly sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy in a bathroom at Centennial Park.

Monte’s decision came following Dr. Rokeya S. Farooque’s testimony that Sowell is schizophrenic and has longstanding mentally illness. Farooque said a brain scan showed Sowell suffers from a type of brain atrophy, which is causing his brain to shrink, a condition that can be treated, she added.

Farooque, a forensic psychiatrist, said Sowell places himself and others in danger and should be admitted under her care for treatment so he can eventually stand trial.

Farooque said Sowell’s condition prevents him from understanding the charges against him. Sowell also suffers from a scrotal hernia that complicates his ability to walk, she said, adding that he has refused treatment for it.

Sowell’s arrest history includes past charges of trespassing, public intoxication and robbery.

11 Comments on this post:

By: unclesam328 on 4/14/10 at 2:51

The good part about this is that there is no sentence and he can be held an indefinite period. Thus , he is off the playgrounds in the parks.

By: WickedTribe on 4/14/10 at 9:38

I wonder what kind of parent lets an 11 year old go into a park bathroom alone. I mean even if you didn't go in with him, just standing nearby outside would be enough to hear if someone attempted to rape him.

By: bfra on 4/15/10 at 3:13

WickedTribe - That kind of thinking takes "common sense", which I am beginning to think, is a thing of the past.

By: richgoose on 4/15/10 at 6:50

He was a "dunk" artist on the basketball team at Pearl high school around 64 or 65.

About 20 years ago he his brain was "dunked."

By: Blanketnazi2 on 4/15/10 at 7:42

richgoose, how understanding do you have of mental illness?

By: richgoose on 4/15/10 at 2:14


If you mean "how understanding am I of mental illness" I am only aware that it is dangerous to the people who must come in contact with it.

Other than that I have no interest in the subject at all. I hope that people like you are working hard to help those with "mental illness."

By: Blanketnazi2 on 4/15/10 at 2:26

yes, rich - i do have an interest in it and do volunteer to help where i can. too bad there are people like you who simply judge and criticize and have no interest or empathy for the mentally ill.

By: richgoose on 4/15/10 at 5:03


I commend you for your work and your efforts.

By: shef2 on 4/15/10 at 9:59

Track back to Pres. Ronald Reagan for the decline of "Mental" designation facilities. Too many people have not gotten the help that they have needed since then. Classic example here. (And everywhere-!) We need more housings (other than jails) to place these people.
This atrocity should not have had the chance to happen.

By: dargent7 on 4/16/10 at 4:47

What does "unfit for trial" mean? He knew where the bathroom was, and probably planned, plotted, lying in wait, the rape. I feel for the 11 year old. I run at Centennial Park and if it's the bathroom behind the coffee place, it's as safe as any public bathroom gets.
The one across the pond is usually locked, and more secluded and dangerous.
But, an 11 year old should be able to use a public restroom w/o fear of physical violence. The guys 64. If he gets 15-20 years, he'll die in prison.
Which is fine with me.

By: WittySage on 4/18/10 at 7:20

It is extremely simple: mentally ill or not, if you have in fact raped a child and I am all for requiring that it be proven first, then you need to be removed from this world.