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Man to Doc: “I’m in Love with a Mannequin”

Detroit- Ronald Dotson has had impulses so strong that he’d break into stores to satisfy an attraction.

His subjects? Mannequins.

And now Dotson, 39, of Detroit will spend the next 18 months — and as many as 30 years — in prison after pleading no contest to attempting to break into a storefront to steal a female-shaped mannequin. It was his seventh attempt in 13 years.

“I thought I was getting my life together,” he told Oakland County Circuit Judge Denise Langford Morris on Thursday, before she sent him to prison for attempted breaking and entering. “I’ve never been able to take care of myself.”

Dotson, who is unemployed and lives with his parents in Detroit, was arrested in October by Ferndale police outside a shattered store window, just days after being paroled for his sixth offense. Inside the storefront stood a mannequin dressed in a black and white French maid’s uniform.

He pleaded no contest earlier this month to attempted breaking and entering. A no contest plea is not a guilty plea but is treated as such for sentencing.

Langford Morris, in sentencing Dotson, noted that recent psychiatric exams show Dotson to be suffering from statuephilia, a relatively rare sexual fetish. Dotson, in prior incidences, has managed to steal the mannequins. In a 1993 case, Ferndale police discovered him in an alley behind a women’s clothing store with three mannequins dressed in lingerie.

He has told police and doctors that he finds the mannequins erotic and sometimes can’t control his impulses, court records show.

The judge said Dotson has never physically assaulted anybody, but that his activity, “strikes fear into the community.” The condition requires “long-term treatment,” she said, and ordered that he undergo treatment in prison.

A Department of Corrections spokesperson said Dotson could be eligible for individual therapy or be sent to a prison with a psychological ward.

Dotson’s attorney, Edward Cohn, said his client “hasn’t learned to behave in society.” He added, “He wouldn’t hurt anybody.”

A sexual obsession with statues or mannequins is rare, experts say. “Usually the person is under-socialized, and has a very difficult time developing relationships with the opposite sex,” said Dr. Robert Filewich, a clinical psychologist who treats sexual disorders at the Center for Behavioral Therapy in White Plains, N.Y.

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