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In re Civil Commitment of T.A.C.

July 13, 2007

IN THE MATTER OF THE CIVIL COMMITMENT OF T.A.C.


On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Docket No. SVP-432-06.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted: June 27, 2007

Before Judges Skillman and King.

This is an appeal from a civil commitment under the Sexually Violent Predator Act, N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.24 to -27.38 (SVPA). T.A.C. engaged in sexual assaults on four different girls, age eight to thirteen. He committed multiple assaults on two of the victims over a two-year period. Those assaults were committed after several years of treatment at Avenel, the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center, while serving prison time for his earlier sex offenses.

A psychiatrist, Dr. Zeiguer, testified that T.A.C. clearly satisfied the requirements for commitment under the SVPA. The report of a psychologist, Dr. Barone, who reached similar conclusions was admitted into evidence without objection. The appellant did not present any medical evidence to dispute the diagnosis and conclusions of the State's experts. The trial judge found the State's expert's conclusions persuasive under these circumstances.

On this appeal defendant raises two points:

POINT I - THE STATE FAILED TO PROVE BY CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE THAT T.A.C. IS A SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATOR IN NEED OF CIVIL COMMITMENT.

POINT II - T.A.C. SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO ENTER A PROGRAM WHICH WOULD INVOLVE THE GRADUAL LESSENING OF HIS RESTRICTIONS SO THAT HE COULD PROVE THAT HE HAS INCORPORATED THE THERAPY INTO HIS BEHAVIOR AND IS NOT A DANGER TO THE COMMUNITY.

We affirm for the reasons stated by Judge Perretti in her oral decision of July 11, 2006, which are amply supported by the record. The judge stated in part in her seventeen-page decision:

From the respondent's own mouth, together with the judgments of conviction, it is clear and convincing that this respondent has most grievously sexually offended against these children.

Dr. Barone in her report goes on to disclose the results of a testing program. She discusses the M.M.P.I. two, a structured personality test, and according to her report, the profile strongly suggests that respondent is an impulsive and immature individual seeking immediate gratification without concern for consequences.

There was also discussion of the respondent's cognitive distortions which were revealed by the Bumby molest scale and the Bumby rape scale. There were five cognitive distortions on the molest scale and six on the rape scale. The report lists some of those distortions, including thinking that child molesters often get longer sentences than they should, molesters suffer the most, and lose the most as a result of a sexual assault on a child, more than the child suffers or is hurt.

Finally, the distortion as follows, "I think the main thing wrong with sexual activity with children is that it is against the law."

These distortions are certainly clear indications of the risk which this respondent poses, these being ...


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