On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Docket No. SVP-416-05.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Collester and C. L. Miniman.
F.T. appeals from the March 22, 2006 judgment entered by Judge Serena Perretti committing him to the Special Treatment Unit (STU) for care and treatment as a sexually violent predator (SVP) under the Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA), N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.24 to -27.18.
F.T.'s history of sexually violent behavior dates back to 1983 when he was seventeen years old. On December 2, 1983, F.T. was arrested on first-degree aggravated sexual assault after he and his co-defendant raped a woman in the back seat of a stolen car. He pleaded guilty on January 26, 1984 and was sentenced to an indeterminate term not to exceed ten years at the Youth Correctional Complex.
On October 7, 1993, F.T. was arrested for sexual assault in the second degree and terroristic threats in the third degree. The twenty-seven-year-old victim said F.T. choked her, forced her to have sexual intercourse, and said he would kill her if she told anyone. The State dismissed the sexual assault charge as the victim suffered a mental disorder. On July 22, 1994, F.T. pleaded guilty to terroristic threats and pursuant to a plea agreement, received a two-year term of probation with psychological and alcohol counseling.
While F.T. was still on probation, he was arrested on July 16, 1995 for burglary, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child, and resisting arrest. The child victim was twelve years old. F.T. broke into a neighbor's apartment when the girl's mother was out. He entered the girl's room while she was sleeping and began kissing and fondling her breasts and vaginal area. F.T. removed the girl's clothing and vaginally raped her. The child also reported that F.T. performed oral sex upon her. F.T. pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault and endangering the child's welfare on February 26, 1996. He was sentenced to fifteen years in State prison.
On November 5, 2003, F.T. was evaluated by Dr. Leland Mosby at the request of the Parole Board. Dr. Mosby reported that F.T. had poor judgment and impulse control as well as limited insight into his problems. He further found clear indication of antisocial personality issues and addiction problems. Dr. Mosby added that F.T. "minimizes his criminal history, past sex crimes and does not take personal responsibility for his actions." As a result, F.T. was denied parole.
Before the expiration of F.T.'s sentence, Dr. Richard Mucowski performed a pre-release risk assessment on July 1, 2004. During his evaluation, F.T. told Dr. Mucowski that his sexual offenses were actually consensual in nature, and he denied having been convicted of the 1984 offense. Dr. Mucowski concluded:
Given [F.T.'s] fragile intellectual processing capacity, his inability to control his libidinal urges and a compromise to his ability to understand the consequences of his poorly thought out choices, he is likely to reoffend.
Declaring F.T. a high risk, Dr. Mucowski referred him for commitment to the STU as a sexually violent predator. On September 14, 2005, F.T. was again evaluated by Dr. Norman Schaffer for a sexually violent predator screen and again referred for STU commitment.
On December 12, 2005, the State filed a petition for a civil commitment of F.T. to the STU as a sexually violent predator under N.J.S.A. 30:4-27. F.T.'s initial commitment hearing was held on March 13 and March 22, 2006, before Judge Perretti. The State ...