A Prince George's County Circuit judge ruled yesterday that 17-year-old Daniel Dennis Collins, charged with a series of rapes, assaults, attempted murders and abductions in the county last August, must stand trial as an adult.

Judge James Magruder Rea said psychiatrists have concluded that Collins, who faces 97 charges in six cases brought by county police, "is not insane, but is a sociopath. He can't adjust to society. His is an attitudinal problem."

Collins is charged with the first degree rape of five women, several lesser sex offenses, auto thefts, assaults, abductions and kidnapings in Prince George's, all of which are alleged to have occurred on one weekend.

Under Maryland law, a judge may determine if 16- and 17-year-olds arrested on charges of rape and other serious felonies are to be tried as adults, and, as a consequence, receive stiffer sentences if found guilty. Collins' attorney had argued that he was not competent to stand trial as an adult.

Police charged the teen-ager with assaulting an off-duty District police officer in Largo the evening of Aug. 4, stealing his service revolver, locking him in the trunk of his car and raping his companion and another woman. Collins also is charged with the rape of two more women in Landover Hills several hours later.

After his capture Aug. 6, Collins was placed in the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center, a high-security state mental facility. He escaped in January but was caught four days later by District police.

He is also charged in Howard County with abducting a woman, raping another and assaulting an elderly couple at a church in Jessup, Md., during that escape.

Rea, who set trial in Prince George's for June 26, said the alleged crimes are "some of the most dastardly felonies anybody could be charged with, short of murder."

Collins, who will be 18 on June 22, sat slumped forward, during the proceedings, with his head under the table, and was silent except to answer a brief question from the judge. The prisoner, who escaped an armed escort in January while being transported to another hospital, remained shackled during the hearing.

Collins' court-appointed attorney, Jeffrey T. Wennar, told the judge his client is "a seriously emotionally disturbed youth. What he needs is treatment."

But assistant state's attorney Carl Buchheister said Collins has been treated in a number of psychiatric programs over the last eight years.