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Trial starts today in Kitsap County sex predator case

OLYMPIA—Trial started this week in Kitsap County Superior Court as the Attorney General’s Office seeks to keep a Kitsap County sex predator confined at Washington’s Special Commitment Center for sexually violent predators.

Elmer “Todd” Gillis, 49, was convicted of four sexual offenses between 1983 and 1993. He has been continuously confined either at the Special Commitment Center or at the Secure Community Transition Facility on McNeil Island since 1997.

As allowed under the law, Gillis is now asking the court for unconditional release into the community.

Under Washington’s civil commitment law, the Attorney General’s Office must demonstrate Gillis 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 is expected to continue into 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 AGO’s SVP Unit was established shortly thereafter.

“Washington’s Sexually Violent Predator laws protect communities from offenders who are likely to reoffend if released,” said Attorney General Bob Ferguson. “My sexually violent predator unit works hard on these cases to ensure dangerous offenders are confined.”

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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