SPOKANE — Following a trial prosecuted by Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s Sexually Violent Predator Unit (SVP), a Spokane County Superior Court judge has ruled that a Spokane County sex offender is a sexually violent predator will be civilly committed.
Daniel Gard raped five different girls between the ages of 5-10 years old. He videotaped several of these sexual assaults. Once apprehended, he disclosed many more female victims of sexual assaults, some as young as 3 years old. These crimes spanned nearly fifteen years. In prison, Gard was caught possessing sexually explicit material and photos of underage children on two occasions.
Prior to his scheduled 2022 release, the AGO filed an SVP case, took it to trial, and successfully committed Gard to the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island.
“It’s a high bar to designate someone a sexually violent predator,” Ferguson said. “It’s reserved for people who are likely to continue to commit sexually violent crimes, unless we intervene. My team works every day to ensure our communities are protected from these individuals.”
Washington’s SVP law allows the state Attorney General’s Office (AGO) to petition for and defend the civil commitment of violent sex offenders who, because of a mental abnormality and/or personality disorder, are proven likely to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence if released.
At Gard’s initial commitment trial in October 2023, the AGO carried the burden of proving Gard suffers from a mental condition that makes him likely to commit predatory sexual crimes. The judge found yesterday that the AGO had met its burden.
Assistant Attorneys General Hal Palmer and Stephanie Olsen, Paralegal Martha Neumann and Paralegal Malia Anfinson handled the case for the state.
Washington’s Sexually Violent Predator law allows the state Attorney General’s Office to petition for the civil commitment of violent sex offenders who, because of a mental abnormality and/or personality disorder, are proven likely to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence if released.
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 Sexually Violent Predator Unit was established shortly thereafter.
The unit is responsible for prosecuting sex predator cases for 38 of Washington’s 39 counties (King County being the exception).
Currently, there are 195 sexually violent predators in the state’s Special Commitment Program.
Washington’s Attorney General serves the people and the state of Washington. As the state’s largest law firm, the Attorney General’s Office provides legal representation to every state agency, board, and commission in Washington. Additionally, the Office serves the people directly by enforcing consumer protection, civil rights, and environmental protection laws. The Office also prosecutes elder abuse, Medicaid fraud, and handles sexually violent predator cases in 38 of Washington’s 39 counties. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.
Brionna Aho, Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; Brionna.firstname.lastname@example.org
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