OLYMPIA— Prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Sexually Violent Predator Unit (SVP) begin trial this week in Lewis County Superior Court to determine whether a repeat sex offender should remain confined to the State’s Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island.
Jerry Mullins, 40, was convicted of Rape of a Child in the First Degree in 1989 and Statutory Rape in the 1st degree in 1990. In 2008, Mullins was convicted of an additional sex offense involving a child. He was originally scheduled for release in June 2013, before the Attorney General’s Office filed for his civil commitment. Since then, he has been confined at McNeil Island awaiting trial.
Under Washington’s civil commitment law, the AGO must demonstrate Mullins 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.
The trial is expected to continue into next week.
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 state’s 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 any and all of its allegations in court.
“The Attorney General’s Office works hard to protect our communities from sexually violent predators,” said Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
The AGO SVP 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 tried 19 cases, won 16 civil commitments and secured one recommitment. One trial ended in a hung jury and one offender was found by a jury not to meet criteria to be committed as a sexually violent predator.
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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.
Alison Dempsey-Hall, Acting Communications Director, (206) 442-4482, firstname.lastname@example.org