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In re Civil Commitment of D.A.C.

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

December 3, 2013

IN THE MATTER OF THE CIVIL COMMITMENT OF D.A.C., SVP-16-99.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued November 12, 2013

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, SVP No. 16-99.

Patrick Madden, Assistant Deputy Public Defender, argued the cause for appellant (Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney).

Brian Wilson, Deputy Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent (John J. Hoffman, Acting Attorney General, attorney).

Before Judges Parrillo and Kennedy.

PER CURIAM.

D.A.C. appeals from a March 18, 2013 order of the Law Division continuing his involuntary civil 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.

D.A.C. is currently fifty-five years of age and has been civilly committed to the STU since October 1999. The predicate offenses underlying his civil commitment occurred between 1986 and 1989. In 1986, D.A.C. began sexually assaulting one of his stepdaughters, A.V., who was between nine and ten years old when the first incident occurred. The sexual assaults upon her by D.A.C. continued for the next three years. In 1987, D.A.C. sexually assaulted one of A.V.'s friends, V.E., during a sleepover. The last incident occurred in August 1989, when D.A.C. sexually assaulted his younger stepdaughter, J.V., who was eleven years old at the time.

As a result of these incidents, on March 26, 1990, pursuant to a plea agreement, D.A.C. pled guilty to two counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(a), and one count of second-degree sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(b). He was sentenced, in accordance with the plea agreement, to the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center (ADTC) at Avenel to a term of fifteen years, but was transferred to a prison setting sometime thereafter because he refused to cooperate in the sex offender treatment programs.

Immediately before D.A.C. was scheduled to complete his sentence, the State applied for his commitment to the STU pursuant to the SVPA. After a hearing on this application, D.A.C. was committed to the STU on October 15, 1999. Since then, he has been recommitted on each of several annual review hearings.

The present review was conducted on March 18, 2013. At this hearing, the State presented expert testimony from Dr. Howard Gilman, a psychiatrist, and Dr. Paul Dudek, a clinical psychologist and member of the STU's Treatment Progress Review Committee (TPRC). D.A.C. testified on his own behalf, but presented no other proof.

According to Dr. Gilman, D.A.C. "has been a consistent treatment refuser basically throughout his time at the ADTC and here at the STU[, ]" primarily because treatment supposedly conflicts with D.A.C.'s religious beliefs. Dr. Gilman diagnosed D.A.C. with Pedophilia, based on the circumstances surrounding his predicate offenses, and also with multiple substance dependence, alcohol and cocaine, conditions that do not spontaneously remit, and predispose him to sexually reoffend. Dr. Gilman explained that

Pedophilia is a diagnosis in which someone has sexual arousal to prepubescent children. [D.A.C.] has acted on those impulses. And because of that I think that he remains at high risk to do so. It hasn't been mitigated by treatment. Possibly has been mitigated in part by age, but that remains to be seen. And, overall, that illness affects him ...

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