Professor diagnosed with extreme naivety

June 7, 2012 at 5:43 PM

BUENOS AIRES, June 7 (UPI) -- A University of North Carolina physics professor jailed for drug smuggling has a personality disorder amounting to extreme naivety, a psychologist said.

Paul Frampton, the Louis D. Rubin, Jr. Distinguished Professor of physics and astronomy at UNC-Chapel Hill, is being held in an Argentine prison after two kilos of cocaine were discovered in his suitcase in Ministro Pistriani International Airport in Buenos Aires.

The News & Observer reported Frampton's defense hired a forensic psychologist to interview him in prison. He was diagnosed with a schizoid personality disorder, effectively making him severely naïve and gullible, unable to make normal social connections.

"He is totally devoted to physics and to his students, but in the rest of his life he has always been like a child," said his ex-wife Anne-Marie Frampton.

Frampton was told on the Internet that if he went to Bolivia, he would meet a young model. Instead when he got there, he was given a suitcase and told to take it back to America. When he got to the airport, customs discovered the cocaine hidden in the false bottom of the otherwise empty suitcase.

"There were, of course, warning signs that most people would have viewed with great suspicion, and this diagnosis as a defense explains the foolishness," Frampton said. "But I certainly had no idea there were illegal drugs and certainly had no idea of smuggling drugs to make money."

Frampton faces up to 16 years in prison if convicted.

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