AG prosecutors seek to prevent community release of Yakima Count - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

AG prosecutors seek to prevent community release of Yakima County sex offender

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YAKIMA, WAProsecutors from the Attorney General’s Sexually Violent Predator Unit are in Yakima County this week, fighting to prevent a dangerous sex offender from being conditionally released into the community.

John Robinson, 64, has been convicted of multiple violent crimes against women, dating back to 1977. In March 2006, the court found Robinson to be a Sexually Violent Predator and civilly committed him to the state’s Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island. In the interest of public safety, the AGO’s Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) Unit is seeking to prevent his conditional release to the community.

Washington’s Sexually Violent Predator law allows the Attorney General’s Office to petition for and defend the civil commitment of violent sex offenders who, because of a mental abnormality and/or personality disorder, are proven likely to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence if released.

The trial begins today in Yakima County Superior Court and is expected to continue two weeks.

The lead attorney in the case is Assistant Attorney General Katharine Hemann.

In 1990, Washington became the first state in the nation to pass a law permitting the involuntary civil commitment of sex offenders after they serve their criminal sentences. The Attorney General’s Office’s SVP Unit was established shortly thereafter.

The SVP unit is responsible for prosecuting sex predator cases for 38 of Washington’s 39 counties (King County being the exception). Since July 2015, the unit has tried seven cases and won six civil commitments. One trial involved an offender who was found by the jury to not meet the criteria to be committed as a sexually violent predator.

As of June 2017, 275 sexually violent predators are in the state’s Special Commitment Program.