OLYMPIA — The Attorney General’s Office has filed a petition in Thurston County Superior Court seeking to civilly commit an Olympia-area sex offender and prevent his release into the community.
Elmer Anderson, 62, has four convictions for sexually violent offenses. In 1988, he was convicted of two counts of indecent liberties against a child under age 14 in King County. Later that year, he was convicted of the same offense in Whatcom County, and in 2001, Anderson was convicted of child molestation first degree in Thurston County.
On March 3, prior to his scheduled release, the Attorney General’s Office petitioned to have Anderson committed as a sexually violent predator.
Washington’s Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) 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.
There has been a hearing scheduled for Friday, March 10, to determine whether enough evidence exists for the judge to find probable cause and move the case forward to trial.
The lead attorney in this case is Assistant Attorney General Kate Hemann.
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 AGO’s SVP Unit was established shortly thereafter.
The Attorney General’s 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 October 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