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In re Civil Commitment of A.X.H.

August 7, 2009

IN THE MATTER OF THE CIVIL COMMITMENT OF A.X.H., SVP-470-07


On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Docket No. SVP-470-07.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted July 22, 2009

Before Judges Yannotti and Lyons.

A.X.H. appeals from a judgment committing him to the Special Treatment Unit (STU), pursuant to the Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA), N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.24 to -27.38. We affirm.

The following factual and procedural history is relevant to our consideration of the issues presented on appeal. A.X.H. is a thirty-nine year old male, with a long history of sexually violating young pre-pubescent boys dating back to 1987. On August 31, 1987, A.X.H. was arrested and charged as a juvenile with two counts of sexual assault. Both victims were eight-year old males. The first victim was a child whom A.X.H.'s mother was baby-sitting. A.X.H. admitted that he performed fellatio on this child on two occasions. Further, he admitted that between the first and second occasions, he masturbated to sexual fantasies of the child. Despite knowing his behavior was wrong, A.X.H. admitted that he was unable to prevent himself from offending.

The second victim was a child A.X.H. admitted he had been wrestling with. A.X.H. grabbed the child's genital area and then performed fellatio on the child. He later sexually assaulted this victim a second time, admitting that he was unable to stop himself.

A.X.H. was adjudicated delinquent and sentenced to probation and assigned to the Devreaux Program for treatment. He failed to complete that program. After violating his probation, A.X.H. was sent to the Jamesburg Training School for Boys. After leaving Jamesburg, he was placed at St. Joseph's Residential Group Center after a brief stay at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital.

On August 13, 1988, three weeks after being released from confinement, police were notified of a sexual assault that took place in an alley behind a building. A seven-year old male victim, R.K., was lured by A.X.H. into the alleyway under the pretense that he was sick and in distress and needed help in the dark. When the child went into the alley, A.X.H. put his hand down the child's pants. R.K.'s sister witnessed the sexual assault. The assault stopped when R.K.'s aunt entered the alley. A.X.H. pled guilty in April 1989 to sexual assault and was sentenced to seven years to be served at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center (ADTC).

On March 15, 1995, A.X.H. was arrested for committing an aggravated sexual assault against a five-year old male child, D.T. A.X.H. grabbed the victim and performed fellatio on him while the victim entered the bathroom at a McDonald's restaurant. The child's grandmother saw A.X.H. exit the bathroom when she went to check on D.T. D.T. told his grandmother that A.X.H. had just "bitten" his penis. A.X.H. pled guilty to aggravated sexual assault and was sentenced to twenty years at the ADTC.

As A.X.H. was approaching the termination of his sentence, his ADTC therapist recommended that he be screened for sexually violent predator commitment.

On August 21, 2007, the State filed a petition to civilly commit A.X.H. under the SVPA. The petition was accompanied by two required clinical certificates. On the return date of the hearing, the court found probable cause to believe that A.X.H. was a sexually violent predator in need of commitment. He was, therefore, temporarily committed to the STU pending a final hearing.

A final hearing was held on January 9, 2008, before Judge Philip M. Freedman. The court entered an order on January 15, 2008, after placing its decision on the record. The court order committed A.X.H. to the STU for the care, custody, and treatment of sexually violent ...


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