SPOKANE — A Spokane County jury has decided repeat sex offender Scott Halvorson must be confined in the state’s Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island (charging documents). In the interest of public safety, prosecutors from Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) Unit have been fighting since 2012 to prevent Halvorson’s release into the community.
Halvorson is 54 years old. In 1987, when he was 26, Halvorson had sexual contact with a four-year-old girl in Spokane County. He pled guilty to Indecent Liberties. Released while awaiting sentencing on that charge, Halvorson broke into a 10-year-old girl’s bedroom while she was sleeping, abducted her at knifepoint, and raped her. He pled guilty to Rape in the First Degree and was sentenced to 133 months in prison. In 2007, Halvorson attacked a woman in her Spokane County residence. He was convicted of Assault in the Second Degree and Rape in the Third Degree, and sentenced to 48 months in prison.
Halvorson was originally scheduled for community release in April 2012, before the Attorney General’s Office filed for his civil commitment. Since then, he has been detained at the Special Commitment Center awaiting trial.
“The Attorney General’s Office works hard to protect our communities from sexually violent predators,” said Attorney General Bob Ferguson. “I’m proud of the dedication and hard work of our prosecution team in getting this case resolved.”
Under Washington’s civil commitment law, prosecutors had to demonstrate Halvorson 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 began Aug. 18 in Spokane County Superior Court and on Aug. 27, the jury returned its verdict that Halvorson is a Sexually Violent Predator.
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 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.
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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