VANCOUVER — The Attorney General’s Office has filed a petition in Clark County Superior Court seeking to civilly commit a Vancouver-area sex offender and prevent his release into the community.
Timothy McMahon, 55, was convicted of six sexually violent offenses, all committed in Clark County. In 1986, McMahon was convicted of indecent liberties against a child under age 14. In 1997, he was convicted of two counts of child molestation in the second degree. In 2004, McMahon was convicted of three counts of child molestation in the first degree.
On Feb. 8, before McMahon’s scheduled release on his 2004 Washington offenses, the Attorney General’s Office petitioned to have him committed as a sexually violent predator. A judge found probable cause to detain McMahon pending trial on the state’s petition.
Washington’s Sexually Violent Predator law allows the state Attorney General’s Office to petition for the civil commitment of violent sex offenders who, because of a mental abnormality and/or personality disorder, are proven likely to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence if released.
The civil commitment petition consists of allegations that have not yet been proven in a court of law. The state of Washington has the burden to prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
The lead attorney in this case is Assistant Attorney General Rose McGillis.
In 1990, Washington became the first state in the nation to pass a law permitting the involuntary civil commitment of sex offenders after they serve their criminal sentences. 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). In Fiscal Year 2016, the unit tried nine cases and won seven civil commitments. Two trials ended in acquittals, meaning the offenders were found to not meet the criteria to be committed as a sexually violent predator.
As of Oct. 5, 2016, 282 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.
Peter Lavallee, Communications Director, (360) 586-0725; PeterL@atg.wa.gov