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In the Matter of the Civil Commitment

December 29, 2010


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

Per curiam.



Argued December 13, 2010 -- Decided Before Judges Lisa and Reisner.

T.A.C. appeals from an April 23, 1010 order continuing his civil commitment to the Special Treatment Unit, pursuant to the Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA), N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.24 to -27.38. We affirm.


T.A.C's sexual offense history began on November 11, 1984, when he sexually molested a twelve-year-old girl who was attending the church where he worked as a janitor. T.A.C. pled guilty to endangering the welfare of a child and was sentenced to three years probation.

While he was on probation for the November 1984 offense, T.A.C. was arrested and charged with second degree sexual assault when C.B. (another twelve year old female) reported to the Essex County Prosecutor's Office that he raped her at the church where he then worked. He pled guilty to second degree sexual assault on September 15, 1986 and was sentenced to five years imprisonment in the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center (ADTC).

On February 4, 1999, T.A.C. was arrested on three counts of sexual assault and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. At the time, he had been living for several months as a boarder in the home of a woman and her five children. The woman reported to the Trenton Police that two of her children informed her they were sexually abused by the defendant. T.A.C. admitted to performing sexual acts on a nine-year-old girl and her thirteen-year-old sister. On March 27, 2000, T.A.C. pled guilty to two counts of sexual assault. He served six and a half years of a ten year sentence at ADTC on that conviction.

On January 19, 2006, the State petitioned for T.A.C.'s involuntary civil commitment under the SVPA. On June 26, 2007, Judge Perretti ordered his civil commitment. T.A.C. appealed the commitment, arguing that the State failed to prove he was a sexually violent predator in need of civil commitment or, alternatively, that he should be enrolled in a conditional discharge program. We affirmed the trial court's decision to civilly commit him. IMO Civil Commitment of T.A.C., No. A-5770-05 (App. Div. July 13, 2007).

At the next review hearing, on February 21, 2008, T.A.C. stipulated that the State's proofs provided clear and convincing evidence that he was a sexually violent predator in need of involuntary civil commitment. At the May 1, 2009 review hearing, T.A.C. again stipulated that the State had adequately proven he was in need of involuntary civil commitment. Judge Freedman ordered his continued commitment but also ordered that T.A.C. be enrolled in the Relapse Prevention 2, Personal Victimization, and Victim Empathy therapeutic modules. He further ordered that the Special Treatment Unit (STU) assist the defendant in exploring discharge options and consider T.A.C. for placement in the Therapeutic Community if appropriate.

The present appeal stems from T.A.C.'s next hearing, on April 23, 2010. At that hearing, the State presented the following evidence. Dr. Alberto M. Goldwaser, a psychiatrist, evaluated T.A.C. on April 12, 2010. In addition to this in-person interview, Dr. Goldwaser considered various psychiatric and psychological reports dating back to 1986, T.A.C.'s criminal justice records, and his STU data sheet and treatment plans. He testified that those are the normal sources of information which professionals in his field review in making a diagnostic report.

T.A.C. reported abuse of alcohol and cocaine to Dr. Goldwaser, indicating that he drank before committing his criminal offenses. In the past, he reported beginning to consume alcohol at the age of thirteen, and drinking daily by the age of nineteen. T.A.C. reported that he stopped drinking in 1997. He also indicated that he began smoking marijuana daily at the age of seventeen. At the age of twenty five, he began to abuse pills and inhaled two to eight highballs of cocaine daily. When he reached thirty five, he was smoking crack cocaine three times weekly in addition to inhaling cocaine, and was involved in illegal activities to fund his drug habit.

Dr. Goldwaser concluded that T.A.C. suffers from pedophilia (female, not exclusive), poly-substance dependence in a controlled environment, and antisocial personality disorder. That diagnosis means that, over a period of more than six months, T.A.C. experiences recurrent and intense sexual urges, fantasies and behavior that involves pre-pubescent and adolescent girls. T.A.C. has a history of multiple substance abuse that has interfered with his ability to function in activities of daily living. Finally, he has a stable, long-term pattern of perceiving himself, others and events in a way that "deviates markedly from the expectations of the ...

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