OLYMPIA — The Washington Attorney General’s Office filed a petition yesterday in Kitsap County Superior Court seeking to prevent a repeat sex offender from being released into the community.
Washington’s Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) law allows the state Attorney General’s Office (AGO) to petition for the civil commitment of violent sex offenders who, because of mental abnormalities and/or personality disorders, are proven likely to re-engage in predatory acts of sexual violence if released.
George Edward Hancock, Jr., 49, has been convicted of multiple sexually violent crimes against children dating back to 1982. He is scheduled to be released from prison on July 27, 2014. The Attorney General’s petition alleges Hancock is too dangerous to be released into the community, and should instead be confined to the state’s Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island.
“The Attorney General’s Office works hard to prevent the release of dangerous sexually violent offenders into our communities,” said Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
The AGO SVP Unit alleges Hancock suffers from both a mental abnormality and a personality disorder that cause him to have serious difficulty in controlling his dangerous behavior. SVP attorneys allege this makes him likely to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence unless he is confined to a secure facility, namely the state’s Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island.
If the judge finds probable cause to believe Hancock may be a sexually violent predator, a civil commitment trial will be scheduled. At trial, either a judge or jury will decide whether or not he meets the SVP criteria. If so, he will be confined at the Special Commitment Center.
In 1990, Washington became the first state in the nation to pass a law permitting the involuntary civil commitment of sex offenders after they have served their criminal sentences. The Attorney General’s SVP Unit was established shortly thereafter.
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 2014, the unit tried 14 cases, won 9 civil commitments and secured one recommitment. Three trials ended in hung juries and one trial involved an offender who didn’t meet the criteria to be committed as a sexually violent predator.
Contacts: Alison Dempsey-Hall, Acting Communications Director, (206) 641-1335