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In re Civil Commitment of M.K. SVP-355-04

April 24, 2009


On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Civil Part, Essex County, Docket No. SVP-355-04.

Per curiam.



Argued April 1, 2009

Before Judges Axelrad and Parrillo.

M.K. appeals from an August 28, 2008 order of the Law Division continuing his involuntary 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. We affirm.

M.K., born October 17, 1966 and currently forty-two years of age, was committed to the STU as a sexually violent predator in 2004. The predicate offense occurred on August 20, 1991, when 25-year-old M.K. molested a 4-year-old boy, C.G., in the bedroom of his West Berlin apartment. On the same day, after C.G.'s parents discovered what happened and called the police, M.K. admitted to police that he pulled C.G.'s shorts and underwear down, fondled his penis and performed fellatio.

On November 4, 1991, M.K. was convicted of first-and second-degree sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2a(1) and -2b, and criminal attempt, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-1 and 2C:14-2a(1). On May 15, 1992, M.K. was sentenced to an aggregate 20- year term, to be served at the Adult Diagnostic Treatment Center (ADTC) in Avenel.

Upon his scheduled release, the State petitioned for SVPA commitment and an order of commitment was entered on August 19, 2004, involuntarily committing M.K. to the STU. Annual review hearings resulted in orders continuing that involuntary commitment in 2005 and 2006. M.K. appealed the 2006 order, which we affirmed in In re Civil Commitment of M.K. SVP-355-04, Docket No. A-692-06T2 (App. Div. April 10, 2007). Thereafter, review hearings continued involuntary commitment in 2007 and 2008.

M.K. has a history of criminal behavior. At the time M.K. committed the predicate offense, M.K. had been on parole for a prior sexual offense that occurred on October 31, 1985. Then, 19-year-old M.K. performed cunnilingus on two seven-year-old girls, his step-sister T.K. and her friend, M.H.D. Having admitted to performing the acts on January 21, 1986, M.K. was convicted of two counts of aggravated sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2a, and was sentenced to two concurrent indeterminate terms not to exceed 10 years at the Youth Correction Center in Yardville. According to M.K., when questioned about his sexual history for the ADTC evaluation of February 10, 1992, he also molested his step-sister six years earlier when he was thirteen and she was one. With regard to non-sexual offenses, M.K. reportedly told a representative of the Camden County Bail Unit that he was adjudicated delinquent of arson as a juvenile, having set fires when he was eight to ten years old, but no records of that offense have been found.

M.K.'s most recent review hearing occurred on August 21 and 28, 2008, at the close of which the trial judge entered an order continuing his involuntary civil commitment, and this appeal is from that August 28, 2008 order. At the hearing, M.K. presented no testimony on his behalf. The State, on the other hand, presented the testimony of Dr. Pogos Voskanian, a certified psychiatrist.

According to Dr. Voskanian, M.K. refused to be interviewed on August 14, 2008 in preparation for the 2008 review hearing.

As a result, Dr. Voskanian's recommendation to continue M.K.'s commitment was informed by various sources compiled in the years since M.K.'s commitment in 2004, including the data underlying diagnosis; treatment notes dating from August 6, 2007 to July 3, 2008; six-month resident reviews, the most recent dated May 2, 2008; Multidisciplinary Treatment Team (MTT) reports, the most recent dated July 21, 2008; and Treatment Progress Review Committee (TPRC) reports, the most recent dated August 18, 2008.*fn1

Based on these sources, Dr. Voskanian diagnosed M.K. with exclusive-type pedophilia. According to Dr. Voskanian, M.K. is exclusive type because M.K. is not attracted to adults in general, having had only one sexual encounter with an age-appropriate female, which M.K. stated he did not enjoy, while reportedly nineteen sexual encounters with children. In his treatment reports, M.K. admitted to feeling anxiety towards adults, which Dr. Voskanian opined discourages M.K. from participating in sexual relations with adults, and which he cannot overcome because his "sexual pathology is his sexual orientation."*fn2 Despite that assessment, Dr. Voskanian testified on cross-examination that M.K. had engaged in discrepant behavior on one occasion, when he had inappropriate sexual contact with a fellow adult STU resident. Dr. Voskanian testified that the ...

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