Community

Attorney General’s Office keeps Kitsap County sex predator confined

By KIPP ROBERTON | For the Independent

OLYMPIA—Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Jay Roof ruled in favor of the Attorney General’s Office as it sought to keep a Kitsap County sex predator confined at Washington’s Special Commitment Center for sexually violent predators on May 30.

Elmer “Todd” Gillis, 49, was convicted of three sexual offenses between 1983 and 1993, including attempted indecent liberties by forcible compulsion, second degree rape and second degree assault with sexual motivation.

He has been continuously confined either at the Special Commitment Center or at the Secure Community Transition Facility on McNeil Island since 1997 when he was civilly committed upon his release from prison.

As allowed under law, Gillis requested an unconditional release into the community. His trial ran from March 31 to April 9 in Kitsap County Superior Court.

Under the state’s civil commitment law, the Attorney General’s Office was required to demonstrate Gillis suffers from a mental abnormality and/or personality disorder that causes him to have serious difficulty controlling his behavior and makes him likely to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence if not confined to a secure facility.

The judge ruled he met the criteria of a sexually violent predator and ordered his continued confinement at the Special Commitment Center.

“The people of Washington deserve to be protected from sexually violent predators,” Ferguson said. “As a father and a husband, I’m pleased Mr. Gillis will remain confined and out of our communities.”

Gillis has history of sexual assault

Elmer Gillis was one week away from being released from Washington State Penitentiary when he was told there was a petition to keep him detained.

Gillis was to be released in 1996. He had been detained or under supervision since 1993. Instead, he was taken to Shelton, where he was arrested by the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and transferred to the Kitsap County Jail.

Gillis was committed to the Special Commitment Center for care, control, and treatment of his sexually violent behaviors and mental abnormality, according to an annual review of Gillis by Steve Marquez of the center.

October 1983, Spokane County

An 18-year-old Gillis was casing houses and cars to support his drug habit.

As he drove through a neighborhood, he noticed a female entering a home on the block he was driving through.

“I decided that I’m going to go in and I’m going to steal something from this house,” Gillis told Northwest Court Reporter Kimberly Mifflin in April 2010.

Gillis drove around the block once and returned to the house. He knocked on the door and the woman answered. Gillis told the woman that his car broke down and he needed to call his father.

After pretending to fail to reach his father, Gillis stalled for five to 10 minutes, then pretended to call again. During his second fake call, Gillis grabbed the woman when she came around the corner into the kitchen.

A struggle began.

“She had fallen on the couch and I fell on top of her,” Gillis told Mifflin. He then made advances … “or is that the other [encounter]? I can’t remember, yeah, if that’s the crime.

“Well, we were struggling. She started to scream. I said ‘If you scream, I’ll kill you.’ ”

After the woman screamed, the woman’s father woke up, tied Gillis up with a rope, and called police.

Gillis’ first conviction included nine months work release and a year of probation. He was sentenced in 1984.

Gillis told the court reporter he never intended to sexually assault the woman.

In 1990, Gillis was found guilty of second-degree rape. In 1989, he tackled his ex-girlfriend’s friend after she attempted to flee from Gillis when he made advances. He raped her; he apologized after.

In 1993, Gillis assaulted a Kingston woman who had offered to let him stay on her couch. At the time, Gillis was living in an office in the “Suquamish lumberyard.”

Gillis attempted to crawl into the women’s bed and make advances. She got away from him, locking herself in the bathroom. She later called the sheriff, but Gillis would not be convicted.

June 1993, Suquamish

Gillis wasn’t far from the lumberyard he worked at in Suquamish while partying one night.

He had his work truck with him. He was still living in the office at the lumberyard.

At one point during the party, a female flashed her breasts, which Gillis found arousing.

Between 2:30-3 a.m., Gillis attempted to leave. The homeowners, however, refused to let him drive drunk. Instead, they offered him a place to sleep in an extra bedroom.

There were about three people passed out in the room, he told the court reporter. That included the young woman who had flashed the party earlier.

“I didn’t know of her age at that time until I got to the county jail and I was being charged with child molestation,” he told the court reporter. The female was 14.

Gillis pleaded guilty, reducing the charges to second degree assault with sexual motivation. He was also charged with fourth-degree assault for the incident with the Kingston woman earlier in the year.

Gillis told court reporters in 2010 that all the incidents were “impulsive.” They were not planned.

Gillis has been evaluated by the Special Commitment Center 14 times since first being brought to McNeil island, according to an annual review of Gillis by Steve Marquez of the center.

By 2004, Gillis’ behavior “improved,” according to the review. However, in 2005 and 2007 it was reported that he was being inappropriate with female staff of the center; despite making “notable treatment progress.”

In 2008, Gillis was reported to make further progress, but staff had found erotic images on his computer.

In 2009, Gillis’ behavioral problems increased, according to the annual review.

Throughout the 2013 review period, observations show Gillis “exhibited decreasing motivation for treatment.”

As of March 2014, approximately 296 sexually violent predators are in the state’s Special Commitment Program.

Involuntary civil commitment of sex offenders

In 1990, Washington became the first state in the nation to pass a law permitting the involuntary civil commitment of sex offenders. The AGO’s Sexually Volent Predators (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 2013, the unit tried 19 cases, won 16 civil commitments and secured one recommitment. One trial ended in a hung jury and one offender was found by a jury not to meet criteria to be committed as a sexually violent predator.

As of March 2014, approximately 296 sexually violent predators are in the state’s Special Commitment Program.

 

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