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In re Civil Commitment of R.W.K.

March 11, 2008

IN THE MATTER OF THE CIVIL COMMITMENT OF R.W.K. SVP-248-02


On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Docket No. SVP-248-02.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued February 25, 2008

Before Judges Parrillo and Baxter.

R.W.K. appeals from the June 5, 2007 order that continued his commitment to the Special Treatment Unit (STU) as a sexually violent predator under the Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA), N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.24 to -27.38. R.W.K. was initially committed to the STU on June 7, 2002. His commitment has been previously reviewed and continued on September 16, 2002, February 27, 2003, February 24, 2005 and January 24, 2006. We affirm.

R.W.K.'s predicate offense was a January 8, 1999 conviction for first-degree aggravated sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(a)(1). That conviction resulted from R.W.K. forcing his ten-year-old cousin, S.R., to perform oral sex on him and engage in vaginal intercourse. S.R. was classified as neurologically and perceptually impaired and emotionally disturbed. R.W.K. was sentenced to a five year and eleven month term of imprisonment to be served at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center at Avenel.

At the time R.W.K. victimized his cousin S.R., he was on probation and was a registered sex offender as the result of a juvenile adjudication of delinquency. This juvenile adjudication was for a 1994 aggravated sexual assault on his six-year-old cousin, M.M., in which R.W.K. performed anal sex on M.M..

After R.W.K. maxed out on his Avenel sentence, the State petitioned for involuntary commitment to the STU. When R.W.K. was first admitted to the STU, he was diagnosed with: pedophilia, sexually attracted to males and females, non-exclusive type; and personality disorder, NOS, with anti-social traits. Those diagnoses have not changed in the ensuing five years.

In November 2006, the Treatment Progress Review Committee (TPRC) prepared an annual report in anticipation of the June 2007 review hearing. In that November 2006 report, the TPRC specified that R.W.K.'s Static-99 measure was a score of 3, placing him at a Medium-Low risk of recidivism. Despite that test result, the TPRC recommended that R.W.K. be maintained at his current Phase-2 treatment level, and not be moved to a higher level, because his treatment progress was minimal and his attendance at treatment sessions was sporadic. The TPRC commented that R.W.K.'s participation in treatment was marked by "poor attendance and low levels of motivation," all of which "handicapped his treatment progress."

At the May 24, 2007 hearing that underlies the June 5, 2007 order, Dr. Brian Friedman, a psychologist, elaborated on the TPRC's conclusion that R.W.K. had made little progress in his treatment over the past year. When asked whether the pedophilia diagnosis "will just spontaneously remit or go away," Friedman responded "no, absolutely not." He explained:

For [R.W.K.], especially, [pedophilia] was present at a relatively early age. Early onset sexual deviance is a risk factor in and of itself. And it suggests that this pattern developed when he was . . . relatively young. . . . [I]t is not the kind of pathology that just goes away. It requires specific intervention [and] treatment techniques to attempt to reduce that arousal pattern over time.

His module involvement has been variable. He's completed a few modules; others, he has not attempted adequately, has not completed certain assignments. His process group participation has also waxed and waned.

[E]ven as recently as . . . January [2007], he was placed on treatment probation status. . . . [M]ore recently he has returned and become somewhat more active . . . . but during this review period, he just was not consistent enough and active ...


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