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October 16, 2008

SPOKANE—A Spokane jury today decided in favor of Attorney General Rob McKenna’s petition to send convicted rapist Kevin Coe to the state’s Special Commitment Center at McNeil Island.

“Today’s decision keeps the state’s most notorious sexual predator off the streets,” McKenna said. “Kevin Coe has never shown regret for the pain he’s inflicted and never agreed to treatment. Perhaps he’ll reconsider during his stay at McNeil Island.”

McKenna commended the work of Sexually Violent Predator Unit (SVP) prosecutors Todd Bowers and Malcolm Ross. “I want the thank these fine attorneys and their families, who have sacrificed so much over the last two years as this case has been investigated and prosecuted in Spokane.”

The state believes that Kevin Coe is responsible for dozens of sexual assaults in Spokane over a nearly 20 year period ending in the early 1980s. In trial, evidence was presented showing that Coe’s mental condition renders him unable to control his sexually violent behavior.

Coe was convicted in 1985 of the first-degree rape of a Spokane resident and originally scheduled for release from the Washington State Penitentiary on Sept. 8, 2006.

The Attorney General’s Office spent nearly 20 months gathering evidence and investigating the case before filing a petition for civil commitment on Aug. 30, 2006.

The civil commitment case began on Sept. 29, 2008, in Spokane County Superior Court.

During its investigation into Coe, the SVP unit gathered and reviewed roughly 67,000 pages of law enforcement, legal, prison, medical and mental health records relating to Coe --  almost 50 times as many documents as are gathered and reviewed in a typical SVP case.

The unit also worked with a psychologist specializing in sexual deviancy who assessed Coe to determine whether he appears to meet the definition of a sexually violent predator.

Upon completion of this investigation, and based in part on the psychological evaluation, the unit believed -- and today a jury affirmed -- that Coe meets the criteria for civil commitment as a sexually violent predator.

To be civilly committed as a sexually violent predator, a defendant must be proven to meet certain narrow criteria:
He must have been charged with or convicted of a “sexually violent offense.”

  • He must currently suffer from a mental abnormality or personality disorder.
  • That mental abnormality or personality disorder must cause him “serious difficulty” controlling his sexually dangerous behavior and make him “more likely than not” to engage in “predatory” acts of sexual violence.

When a judge finds offenders meet these criteria, they are held indefinitely at the Special Commitment Center until their mental condition improves such that they may be released into society.

The AGO has made the fight against sexually violent predators a high priority, including spearheading laws to:

More about AG McKenna’s work protecting state residents from sexually violent predators may be found at



Janelle Guthrie, AGO Communications Director, (360) 586-0725


About the AGO’s Sexually Violent Predator Unit
The AGO’s Sexually Violent Predator Unit is responsible for prosecuting sex predator cases for 38 of Washington’s 39 counties (King County being the exception). The expertise of the unit permits it to handle all aspects of sex predator cases, including pre-filing investigations, pre-trial motion practice, trial, post-commitment proceedings and appeals.

The office filed 24 cases in 2005, 18 in 2006 and 18 in 2007. SVP attorneys committed 19 offenders in 2005, 15 in 2006 and 13 in 2007.
The Special Commitment Center

  • Is a secure mental health facility, located on McNeil Island and run by DSHS.
  • It is not a prison.
  • Approximately 280 offenders reside at the SCC – and roughly a third are awaiting trials to review their cases.



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