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Former A&M professor charged with stalking found mentally ill, committed

(KBTX)
Published: May. 23, 2019 at 8:13 AM CDT
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A former Texas A&M professor, accused of stalking and harassing a student, has been committed to a mental hospital for a year.

Wednesday, 40-year-old Tarun Bhardwaj was involuntarily committed to the Austin State Hospital for one year. After that year, there will be another trial to determine if he still meets the criteria for civil commitment.

Bhardwaj was arrested in December 2016 for stalking a female student, as well as for preventing a police officer from carrying out his duty. He said he didn't see anything wrong in his actions and believes he is a victim of racial discrimination.

In July 2018, the State of Texas, his defense team, the court, and court’s experts agreed Bhardwaj was not competent to stand trial and was sent to the Austin State Hospital, a mental hospital, for 120 days to attempt to restore his competency.

Following his commitment, the state hospital ruled Bhardwaj met the criteria for continuing civil commitment because he had a mental illness, was likely to cause serious harm to himself and others, and his mental health was poor enough he could not provide for his basic needs if on his own.

Based on the hospital's ruling, the State asked a Brazos County jury this week to decide if Bhardwaj met the criteria for civil commitment. His psychiatrist and multiple psychologists testified at the trial that he posted a significant risk to the community and himself if released.

The jury agreed with the state hospital's assessment that Bhardwaj had a mental illness, was likely to cause serious harm to himself and others, and his mental health was poor enough he could not provide for his basic needs if on his own, meeting the qualifications for civil commitment. Bhardwaj was released to the custody of the state hospital for the next year to undergo treatment.

While working as an assistant research scientist at Texas A&M in 2015, Bhardwaj was arrested several times for stalking and harassment.

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