Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Jun 22 2017

Jury sends dangerous sex offender to Special Commitment Center

VANCOUVER — A Clark County jury decided yesterday to civilly commit repeat sex offender Michael Canty. Prosecutors from Attorney General’s Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) Unit have been fighting since 2016 to prevent Michael Canty’s release into the community.

The trial began on June 12 and ended June 21 with the jury’s decision that Michael Canty is a sexually violent predator.

Michael Canty, 39, was convicted of sexual battery, attempted kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment in 1996 and indecent liberties with forcible compulsion and burglary in the first degree with sexual motivation in 2001. He was scheduled for community release on Aug. 3, 2016, before the Attorney General’s Office filed for his civil commitment. Since then, he has been awaiting trial at the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island.

Under Washington’s civil commitment law, prosecutors had to demonstrate Canty suffers from specific mental abnormalities and/or personality disorders that cause him to have serious difficulty in controlling his dangerous behavior and make him likely to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence unless confined to a secure facility.

In 1990, Washington became the first state in the nation to pass a law permitting the involuntary civil commitment of sex offenders after they have served their criminal sentence. The Attorney General’s SVP Unit was established shortly thereafter.

The SVP unit is responsible for prosecuting sex predator cases for 38 of Washington’s 39 counties (King County being the exception). So far this fiscal year, the unit has tried seven cases and won six civil commitments. One trial involved an offender who was found by the jury to not meet the criteria to be committed as a sexually violent predator.

As of May 30, 2017, 275 sexually violent predators are in the state’s Special Commitment Program.




The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.



Brionna Aho, Interim Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; brionna.aho@atg.wa.gov