Trial set for suspect in nude schoolyard fracas

WENATCHEE — A man accused of stripping naked on Lincoln Elementary School grounds and bearhugging a teacher in front of students will go to court next month after being judged competent to stand trial.

Dion A. Chaney, 40, was arrested Aug. 31 after Wenatchee police shot him with a nonlethal beanbag projectile to subdue him outside the school.

Witnesses said he came onto the school playground with two dogs near the close of school, and was asked to leave. He returned later without the dogs, and took off all his clothes when a teacher and Lincoln Principal Tim Sheppard confronted him.

While the two educators tried to escort him off the grounds, Chaney seized the female teacher and fondled her, according to police reports. The incident was witnessed by many students and parents who were outside for the end of classes.

Chaney was not coherent when talking with teachers and police. He was charged with indecent exposure, unlawful imprisonment and indecent liberties after his arrest.

In October, then-Superior Court Judge John Bridges ordered Chaney to Eastern State Hospital for a mental health evaluation. A report from psychologist Mark Mays calling Chaney competent to stand trial was filed with the court Monday, and on Wednesday he was scheduled for trial on March 19.

Indecent liberties, the most serious of the felony charges, is punishable by up to life in prison, but Chaney’s lack of a prior felony record in Washington would make him more likely to serve just five years if convicted.