PORTLAND — A city man who has been arrested repeatedly on indecent conduct charges will be evaluated at a state psychiatric center, a judge decided Wednesday.

Steven Ricci, 48, of Portland appeared in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court on Wednesday to face charges of indecent conduct and disorderly conduct. Ricci was arrested Monday for allegedly masturbating in public — the third time he’s been charged for such behavior in a year.

Authorities have said they are concerned that Ricci, who suffers from cerebral palsy and brain damage, has expressed a desire to rape someone.

During the brief proceeding Wednesday, Justice William Brodrick granted a defense motion to send Ricci to Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta.

Peter Richard Jr., Ricci’s lawyer, said Ricci wants treatment but also worries that he will lose his home if he’s incarcerated for an extended time.

“I need help. I need help,” Ricci said to the judge. “But I don’t want to lose my home in the meantime. I’m asking you, could I — could I — go back to my home and stay there? I will not commit any offenses.”

Ricci’s most recent arrest took place at his Brighton Avenue home after he was seen by an off-duty police officer outside the home wearing nothing but his underwear. Ricci was arrested later, after officers observed him masturbating on his front porch in view of traffic, according to police.

Ricci had been released from jail a week earlier after completing a sentence for disorderly conduct and violating probation.

Assistant District Attorney Julia Sheridan on Wednesday asked that Ricci’s bail be increased from $160 to $200,000 surety or $50,000 cash. She also asked that the conditions of his release prevent him from leaving his home except for matters of “absolute necessity” and that he be subject to daily monitoring.

Sheridan noted that Ricci has a long criminal history and has stated numerous times that he wants to find a woman to rape.

Ricci has not been convicted of any offenses that require him to register as a sex offender under Maine law. A 1992 attempted rape conviction for jumping on a store clerk, breaking her ribs, and biting her nipple was overturned by the state supreme court due to double-jeopardy issues. A previous indecent conduct conviction stems from a 2006 incident for following a 15-year-old girl to persuade her to have sex.

Richard, who was appointed to represent Ricci, said that his two most recent convictions, as well as the current charges, were for nonviolent misdemeanors.

Brodrick set bail at $10,000 cash and said a bail hearing will take place as soon as the Riverview evaluation is returned.

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

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