On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, SVP-377-04.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Fisher and Baxter.
G.X.R. appeals from a judgment entered on February 24, 2011 that continued his involuntary commitment 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 reject G.X.R.'s claim that the State's proofs fell short of establishing by clear and convincing evidence that he is highly likely to engage in acts of sexual violence if not involuntarily confined. We affirm.
G.X.R. is a fifty-one year old man with a long history of sexual offenses against pubescent and prepubescent girls that spans more than two decades. We begin with his most recent offense, which was the predicate for his involuntary commitment to the STU. In 2000, while employed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), G.X.R. was assessing storm damage at a home in Sussex County. He entered the home and encountered R.C., a girl less than thirteen years of age, whose mother was not home. G.X.R. placed his hands on R.C.'s knee and shoulder. When R.C.'s mother arrived, she spoke briefly with G.X.R., and then went back to work. Returning to the home, G.X.R. forced R.C. onto his lap, touched her stomach and thigh, became sexually aroused, and masturbated in the bathroom. After G.X.R. left, R.C. reported the incident to her mother, who called the police.
G.X.R. was arrested, and on March 8, 2002, pled guilty to the third-degree crime of endangering the welfare of a child, N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4a. The judge sentenced him to a five-year term at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center at Avenel (ADTC).
In August 2004, shortly before G.X.R. was due to be released, the State filed a petition for his involuntary commitment to the STU on grounds that he was a sexually violent predator. The State relied on G.X.R.'s March 8, 2002 child endangerment conviction as well as his three prior convictions for sexual assaults on children committed between 1981 and 1989. G.X.R.'s earliest conviction began with his November 19, 1981 arrest in Tampa, Florida for licking the vagina of two nine-year old girls and digitally penetrating each. One of the two girls also stated that G.X.R. inserted his penis in her vagina. When being interviewed about the sexual assault on the two girls, G.X.R. stated that he was angry after being sexually rebuffed by his girlfriend; and when he saw the girls, he "took out" his "anger and frustration" on them. G.X.R. was found guilty of sexual battery and sentenced to ten years in prison.
G.X.R.'s next predatory acts occurred in the latter part of 1987 when, during three different incidents with three different girls between the ages of twelve and fifteen, he exposed himself while masturbating. He pled guilty to two counts of sexual assault, and one count each of endangering the welfare of a child and criminal sexual contact. He was released from custody pending an Avenel evaluation, but was not sentenced on these offenses until he was arrested years later and a records check revealed that the earlier sentence was never imposed.
G.X.R.'s next crime occurred on March 24, 1988, when two female students, ages eleven and twelve, reported to school officials that while walking to school, a male, who was following them in his vehicle, stopped and showed them a pornographic magazine. When they began to walk away, he threw the magazine at them. Using the license plate number, the police were able to apprehend G.X.R. and charge him with criminal sexual contact and endangering the welfare of a child. He pled guilty on April 10, 1989 to the latter offense. During the Avenel evaluation, G.X.R. admitted to the evaluator that during 1988 and 1989, he "was driving around looking for girls and exposing [him]self and masturbating . . . once or twice every two weeks."
After reviewing the State's September 2004 SVPA petition, the judge issued a temporary order of commitment authorizing G.X.R.'s transfer to the STU pending a final hearing. At the final hearing on February 2, 2005, the judge found that the State's proofs satisfied the standard for G.X.R.'s involuntary commitment as a sexually violent predator. That order was affirmed on appeal. In re Civil Commitment of G.X.R., No. A-4655-04 (App. Div. November 1, 2006). At the next periodic review hearing on June 25, 2007, the judge again continued G.X.R.'s commitment to the STU, and we again affirmed. In re Civil Commitment of G.X.R., No. A-5849-06 (App. Div. January 25, 2008). The next review hearing, on October 15, 2008, resulted in G.X.R.'s continued commitment, as did the next hearing on May 8, 2009. Neither was appealed. The January 20, 2010 order, which again continued G.X.R.'s commitment to the STU, was affirmed on August 2, 2010. In re Civil Commitment of G.X.R., No. A-2624-09 (App. Div. August 2, 2010).
At the February 24, 2011 hearing that is the subject of this appeal, the State presented the testimony of Roger Harris, M.D., who prepared a forensic psychiatric assessment of G.X.R. based on a clinical interview conducted on January 20, 2011. Dr. Harris testified that G.X.R. currently suffers from several mental abnormalities or personality disorders that predispose him to sexually reoffend: pedophilia, girls, not exclusive; paraphelia NOS (hebephilia), girls, not exclusive; exhibitionism; and antisocial personality disorder with borderline traits. Dr. Harris emphasized that individuals such as G.X.R. who suffer from "two separate paraphilias," are at increased risk of sexually reoffending. Dr. Harris reported that during his interview of G.X.R., G.X.R. acknowledged a continuing arousal to girls between the ...