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In the Matter of the Civil

April 16, 2012

IN THE MATTER OF THE CIVIL COMMITMENT OF J.S. SVP-456-07.


On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Docket No. SVP-456-07.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued March 19, 2012

Before Judges Parrillo and Alvarez.

J.S. appeals from a June 7, 2011 order continuing his involuntary civil commitment to the Special Treatment Unit (STU) as a sexually violent predator pursuant to the Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA), N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.24 to -27.38. We affirm.

J.S. is a thirty year-old male, who, between December 26, 2001, and January 3, 2002, sexually assaulted a seven-year-old child. He was convicted of second-degree sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(b), and on January 17, 2003, was sentenced to six years at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center (ADTC). While at ADTC, defendant's treatment was unsuccessful. He often rejected treatment and refused to participate in components of the course of treatment. Despite being HIV and Hepatitis B positive, he regularly engaged in unprotected sex with other inmates. In re Civil Commitment of J.S., No. A-6568-06 (App. Div. Dec. 16, 2008) (slip op. at 3).

In 1997, J.S. was adjudicated delinquent of the charge, had he been an adult, of second-degree sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(b). Id., slip op. at 2. The adjudication resulted from J.S. being discovered lying on top of a three-year old, both with their pants down. J.S. was thereafter sentenced to probation, including three years at the Training School for Boys and Girls, suspended, as well as individual and group therapy for sex offenders. On February 19, 1998, J.S. violated the terms of his probation and was "sentenced to an indeterminate term until his eighteenth birthday."

The State filed for involuntary temporary civil commitment by way of a petition dated April 5, 2007. J.S. was initially committed on August 17, 2007, and subsequent review hearings conducted on June 1, 2009 and June 11, 2010, resulted in continued treatment. J.S. appealed the initial commitment order of August 17, 2007, which we affirmed. Id.

The most recent review hearing, and the subject of this appeal, was conducted on June 1, 2011. At the hearing, the State presented the testimony of Dr. Martha Pek Scott, a psychiatrist, and Dr. Debra Roquet, a clinical psychologist and member of J.S.'s Treatment Progress Review Committee (TPRC).

Scott, in formulating her opinion, met with J.S. for approximately one hour, in addition to reviewing his TPRC report, treatment reports, psychiatric evaluations, clinic certifications, the petition for civil commitment, progress notes, and J.S.'s discovery file. Scott diagnosed J.S. as suffering from non-exclusive pedophilia, attracted to girls; cannabis abuse; rule out dysthymic disorder; and antisocial personality disorder with borderline features. She found that both the pedophilia and antisocial personality disorder diagnoses predisposed defendant for "future acts of sexual violence." She also noted that J.S.'s progress was marginal. He had joined a therapeutic community program but was later placed on treatment refusal status.

Scott reported J.S.'s own account of his sexual offenses: that he was committed to the STU for "[h]aving sex with a minor." When Scott discussed J.S.'s treatment with him, she noted that he was "able to identify some high risk situations[,]" but not corresponding coping mechanisms and skills. She stated that his Static-99R test score placed him at a high-moderate risk of recidivism.

Scott testified that J.S.'s major obstacle "is his impulsiveness; impulsively acting up on his sexual urges . . . ." Although J.S. acknowledged his offenses, he did not show any remorse whatsoever. "He didn't show any empathy for his victims." Scott also said that she "didn't detect a lot of effect of treatment[,]" particularly regarding his lack of awareness of high risk situations and his sex offense cycle.

In Scott's view, J.S.'s pedophilia is pervasive in that it "doesn't spontaneously remit and predisposes him to future acts of sexual violence . . . ." Also relevant to her analysis was that J.S.'s pedophilia manifested itself at a young age, indicating a deeper deviant arousal. He met the criteria for a conduct disorder, which fulfills the ...


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