May 11, 2012

Report cleared legislator-veteran of PTSD

The family of Rep. Alex Cornell du Houx, accused of stalking another lawmaker, makes his psychologist's analysis public.

By Steve Mistler
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA - The family of state Rep. Alex Cornell du Houx, D-Brunswick, who is accused of stalking and threatening a female lawmaker, has released a psychologist's report that says the military veteran is not suffering from psychological symptoms or syndromes related to combat stress.

Alex Cornell du Houx


Ramona Cornell du Houx, mother of Rep. Alex Cornell du Houx, D-Brunswick, released this counselor's report to The Portland Press Herald on the condition that it be published in its entirety. She said the family wanted the report released to rebut contentions that he suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Psychologist's clinical evaluation of du Houx

Ramona du Houx, Cornell du Houx's mother, gave the report to The Portland Press Herald, saying the family wanted to dispel allegations by Rep. Erin Herbig, D-Belfast, the Brunswick lawmaker's former girlfriend, and any perception that the former Marine was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Her daughter, Rebecca Cornell du Houx, released the report to the Forecaster group of weekly newspapers.

Rebecca Cornell du Houx, a mental health case manager in the Maine Army National Guard, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Last week, Herbig secured a temporary protection-from-abuse order against Alex Cornell du Houx. He claims that he and Herbig were engaged to be married and that they lived together. Herbig's attorney recently denied that Herbig and Cornell du Houx lived together.

Herbig's complaint alleges a series of threatening actions, including that Cornell du Houx, who served in Iraq, threatened to use "military training tactics" on her after the couple broke up earlier this year. Herbig did not use the term "post-traumatic stress disorder" in her complaint.

Herbig's allegations are being investigated by Maine State Police. Spokesman Steve McCausland said last week that the probe began after investigators were notified by the Capitol Police, a unit that works within the state Department of Public Safety.

Herbig approached Capitol Police in early April about concerns she had with Cornell du Houx's behavior. She did not seek a protection order until last week.

McCausland would not say which of Herbig's allegations are being investigated.

Ramona du Houx said neither her son nor his attorney, Jeff Hamm, knew that the psychologist's report was being released. She said the protection order gave only Herbig's side of the story.

Citing advice from his attorney, Alex Cornell du Houx has declined to respond to Herbig's allegations, except to say that many of her claims are false. His family, meanwhile, has attempted to clear his name in the court of public opinion.

Hamm acknowledged that he would not have advised his client to release the report. However, he said, it helped dispel the stigma of post-traumatic stress disorder that combat veterans often face.

He said Cornell du Houx sought the evaluation after Herbig expressed concerns to a former employer that he was suffering from PTSD.

The evaluation was done by Margo Bonner Thurston, a psychologist in Belfast. She did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.

The evaluation is confidential, but Thurston wrote that Alex Cornell du Houx could release it at his discretion. His mother said Thursday that Cornell du Houx distributed it to several people, including House Minority Leader Emily Cain, D-Orono, earlier this year.

It's unclear if Cornell du Houx authorized releasing the evaluation to the media. His mother said he never gave her or his sister permission to release it.

According to the psychologist's summary, Cornell du Houx was frustrated and distressed about his relationship with Herbig after "a serious breach of trust" between them.

According to Thurston's assessment, Cornell du Houx did not meet the clinical definition of post-traumatic stress disorder and presented himself as an "intelligent, well groomed, well mannered, matter of fact, logical, extraordinarily busy and successful young man."

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