LONGVIEW — Prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Sexually Violent Predator Unit (SVP) are in Cowlitz County, fighting to prevent a dangerous sex offender from being unconditionally released into the community.
Joel Reimer, 47, has been convicted of two sexually violent offenses. In 1985 Reimer committed first-degree rape and second-degree assault and was convicted of those crimes in Cowlitz County.
In December 1992, Reimer was involuntarily civilly committed as a sexually violent predator to the state’s Special Commitment Center (SCC) on McNeil Island. He has been in total confinement at the SCC since the state filed the SVP petition in 1991. In the interest of public safety, SVP prosecutors are seeking to prevent his unconditional release to the community.
Washington’s Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) law allows the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) to petition for and litigate the civil commitment of violent sex offenders. At trial, the AGO once again will have the burden to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Reimer suffers from a mental abnormality and/or personality disorder that makes him likely to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence if he is released.
The trial began on Tuesday in Cowlitz County Superior Court, and is expected to continue for two weeks.
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 2016, the unit tried nine cases and won seven 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, 2016, 284 sexually violent predators are in the state’s Special Commitment Program.
Assistant Attorney General Farshad Talebi is 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