On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Docket No. SVP-452-07.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Waugh and St. John.
Appellant C.E.G. appeals from the Law Division's October 20, 2011 order continuing his 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.
C.E.G. was civilly committed under the SVPA by a final order entered on September 7, 2007. We affirmed that order. In re the Civil Commitment of C.E.G., No. A-0823-07 (App. Div. Nov. 12, 2009) (slip op. at 1). We described the factual background of C.E.G.'s commitment as follows:
To summarize his history of criminal convictions, from the time he was eighteen to the time he was forty-two, C.E.G. attempted to anally penetrate a three-year old girl in Virginia in 1980; tried to rape a twenty-seven year old female neighbor in 1995; and molested a thirteen-year old boy in 2004. He was also involved in at least two non-sexual offenses in which he was armed with a gun. C.E.G. spent his prison sentence for the 2004 offense in the New Jersey State facility for sex offenders at Avenel (ADTC). While at ADTC, he made little progress in treatment, "did not acknowledge his sexually inappropriate behavior, and he continued to minimize or deny the offenses." [Id. at 2-3.]
While at the STU, C.E.G. has declined to participate in treatment. He also declined to be interviewed for the psychological report prepared for his review hearing and declined to attend the hearing itself, which was held on October 20, 2011. The State presented the testimony of Roger Harris, M.D., who was qualified as a psychiatrist. Harris's report was also marked as an exhibit at the hearing.
Harris testified that he found it significant that C.E.G. had "sexually offended on multiple occasions" against individuals who were "prepubescent, peripubescent, and . . . adult." He also noted that C.E.G. had convictions for non-sexual violent crimes, including armed robbery and abduction at gunpoint. He diagnosed C.E.G. with pedophilia (boys and girls) and paraphilia NOS (hebephilia), as well as antisocial personality disorder. According to Harris, C.E.G.'s "volitional control is very poor," as evidenced by his pattern of continuing to offend following release from prison. Harris characterized the number of times C.E.G. was released and then reoffended as "sobering."
Based upon C.E.G.'s strong antisocial disorder, his "deviant arousals," and his high score on the test for antisocial disorder, Harris testified to his opinion that C.E.G. was "highly likely to sexually re-offend." Harris acknowledged that C.E.G.'s score of five on the Static-99R test put him in the category of those with a less than fifty-percent likelihood of conviction for a sexual offense committed within ten years after release, but testified that C.E.G. was actually at a higher risk of reoffending than suggested by the Static-99R test result. He based that opinion on C.E.G.'s "dynamic risk factors," which his report listed as "deviant arousal, antisocial attitudes and behavior, psychopathy, lifestyle impulsivity, never married, and general poor self regulation."
Based upon the evidence presented at the hearing, the judge found that the State had demonstrated by "clear and convincing evidence" that C.E.G. was in need of continued confinement for "control, care, and treatment." This appeal followed.
An involuntary civil commitment can follow service of a sentence, or other criminal disposition, when the offender "suffers from a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes the person likely to engage in acts of sexual violence if not confined in a secure facility for control, care and treatment." N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.26(b).
[T]he State must prove [a] threat [to the health and safety of others because of the offender's likelihood of engaging in sexually violent acts] by demonstrating that the individual has serious difficulty in controlling sexually harmful behavior such that it is highly likely that he or she will not control his or her sexually ...