OLYMPIA—The Attorney General’s Office this week successfully committed a sexually violent predator (SVP) to the state’s Special Commitment Center, preventing his release into the community.
Garner “Dennis” Chastain, 60, pled guilty to Attempted Child Molestation in the second degree in Cowlitz County for molesting his step-grandson on multiple occasions in 2007. He was sentenced to 60 months and scheduled for release on December 28, 2011. He was previously charged with four counts of sexual abuse of a minor for molesting multiple boys in Alaska in 1996.
After his SVP case went to trial in late July, Chastain agreed to be civilly committed, enter the sex offender treatment program and actively participate. He also agreed to remain infraction free for two years and reach phase 3 of treatment.
“The Attorney General’s Office SVP Unit successfully negotiated an agreement that keeps Mr. Chastain out of our communities and in treatment where he belongs,” Ferguson said.
The SVP Unit was established in 1990 following enactment of the state’s sexually violent predator law, which permits the involuntary civil commitment of sex offenders who, because of a mental abnormality and/or personality disorder, are likely to commit predatory acts of sexual violence if released to the community.
The unit is responsible for prosecuting sex predator cases for 38 of Washington’s 39 counties (King County being the exception). In Fiscal Year 2013, the unit has tried 19 cases, won 16 civil commitments and secured one recommitment. One trial ended in a hung jury and one offender was found not to meet the SVP criteria by a jury.
As of April 2013, approximately 296 sexually violent predators are civilly committed in Washington state.
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. Attorney General Bob Ferguson is working hard to protect consumers and seniors against fraud, keep our communities safe, protect our environment and stand up for our veterans. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.
Contacts: Janelle Guthrie, Director of Communications, (360) 586-0725
Alison Dempsey-Hall, Dep. Communications Director, (206) 641-1335