updated 12/13/2007 3:07:37 PM ET 2007-12-13T20:07:37

A West Hartford man accused of hiding a teenage runaway for nearly a year has been found not competent to stand trial on kidnapping and numerous sexual assault charges.

Superior Court Judge David Gold ordered Adam Gault transferred from the correctional system to the Whiting Forensic Division of Connecticut Valley Hospital for a 60-day evaluation.

Forensic evaluators found that Gault is clinically depressed and unable to assist in his own defense. Gold agreed with the report but said he was skeptical about some of the findings.

"In the court's view, this is a very close call," Gold said. "The court has to go the extra mile to insure that the defendant meets statutory criteria for competency."

The evaluators say they feel Gault can be restored to competency. Defendants are deemed to be competent if they can understand the charges against them and assist in their defense.

Gault, 41, said last month that he was ready to plead guilty to charges that could send him to prison for the rest of his life, but then he backed out of the plea deal and his attorney asked for a competency hearing.

Girl ran away from home
The girl was 14 when she ran away to live with Gault, who had worked with her stepfather, authorities said. She was found hiding in June in a small storage area in Gault's home when police searched it, fearing she might be dead, they said.

Gault is charged with kidnapping, numerous counts of sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor, and other crimes.

He also faces kidnapping charges stemming from an alleged 1998 case in which a runaway told police she was sexually assaulted by Gault several times while living at his home and business when she was 15. She did not come forward until Gault was arrested in the other girl's disappearance.

The Associated Press is not naming the girls because it does not typically identify people who allege sexual assault.

Gault is being held on $2.35 million bond.

His wife, Ann Murphy, 40, and Kimberly Cray, 26, another woman who was living at the home, also face kidnapping and other charges in the runaway case.

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