A psychotherapist with 34 years of private practice experience is weighing in about the decision by UCF to take a man who ran on the football field during the Mizzou game to jail — instead of bringing him to a mental health facility for treatment.

That’s according to a report UCF RTV student Kayla O’Brien submitted for a class project, and published on her Facebook page.


KnightNews.com told you earlier this month how UCF Police arrested Richard Valdes, 27, and charged him with trespass and disrupting the activity of an educational institution.

Records show he was booked into jail at 1:43 p.m. and released on bond the same day, at 10:18 p.m. — and it’s not clear where he is or what he’s up to now.

But he may have been off the streets longer if UCFPD instead was able to bring Valdes, who has a history of reportedly bizarre behavior on campus, to Lakeside Behavioral Health Center under Florida’s Baker Act, which lets law enforcement officers involuntarily admit someone for up to 72 hours “when there is reason to believe that he or she is mentally ill…
Linnda DurrĂ©, Ph.D., made it clear how she felt. “It’s important to know that someone like this needs to be taken to Lakeside, instead of taken to jail,” she told O’Brien, who pointed out DurrĂ© is not treating Valdes but was sharing her expert opinion.

O’Brien reported that she learned from a friend of Valdes that he lives in a van near campus. Different students told both KnightNews.com and O’Brien that Valdes exhibited bizarre behavior in the past, including claiming to people at the Student Union that he was the “messiah” sent by God to be a messenger, and that the world was coming to an end.

O’Brien also obtained video of Valdes crossing police tape during a recent emergency evacuation, then sitting in the street.

UCF released a statement to O’Brien saying the stadium is very safe and that Valdes didn’t pose a threat to anyone.

Valdes could be arrested for trespassing if he shows up on campus again.