Charles Urlacher civilly committed since 2011
TACOMA — Prosecutors with the Attorney General’s Sexually Violent Predator Unit seek to prevent a sex offender from being released into the community in a Pierce County Superior Court trial.
Charles Urlacher, 63, was convicted of first- and second-degree rape of a child in 2000. He was civilly committed to the state’s Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island in 2011 after a Pierce County jury found him to be a Sexually Violent Predator (SVP).
Washington’s SVP law allows the 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 likely to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence if released.
Urlacher now seeks conditional release from the Special Commitment Center to a “less restrictive alternative” in the community. In order to grant release to a less restrictive alternative to total confinement, the court must find that the release is in the best interest of Urlacher and that conditions can be put in place that will adequately protect the community.
The trial began on Oct. 3 in Pierce County Superior Court, and is expected to continue through 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 Attorney General’s SVP Unit was established shortly thereafter.
The SVP unit is responsible for prosecuting sex predator cases for 38 of Washington’s 39 counties (King County being the exception). In Fiscal Year 2016, the unit tried nine cases and won 7 civil commitments. Two trials ended in acquittals, meaning the offenders were found to not meet the criteria to be committed as a sexually violent predator.
As of Aug. 8, 284 sexually violent predators were in the state’s Special Commitment Program.
Assistant Attorneys General Rose McGillis and Fred Wist are prosecuting the case.
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. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.
Peter Lavallee, Communications Director, (360) 586-0725; PeterL@atg.wa.gov