Attorney General’s Office keeps violent predator out of community
Yakima, Wash. —A Yakima jury today announced its unanimous verdict that a local sex offender is a sexually violent predator and should be civilly committed. Jonathan Parsons, 38, had three prior convictions for sexual assaults against young boys.
The civil commitment trial started on Dec. 9, 2013. The trial team consisted of Assistant Attorneys General Mary Robnett and Katharine Hemann from the Attorney General’s Office Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) Unit.
Washington’s SVP law allows the state to civilly commit to a secure facility sexually violent predators who, because of a mental abnormality and/or personality disorder, are proven likely to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence if not confined.
Parsons will now be held at the state’s Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island and subject to an annual review.
“Our legal team worked hard to keep this dangerous sex predator out of the community and confined at the Special Commitment Center,” said Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
In 1989, Parsons pled guilty to one count of child molestation in the first degree in Yakima County Juvenile Court for assaulting an 11-year-old boy in Union Gap. He received 30 days in detention and 12 months of community supervision.
In 1994, Parson was convicted of third degree rape after pleading guilty to assaulting a 14-year-old boy. He was sentenced to 18 months.
In January 1998, Parsons was convicted of second degree rape of a child and second degree child molestation for crimes against a 13-year-old boy. He was sentenced to 175 months—roughly 14.5 years.
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 AGO’s SVP Unit was established shortly thereafter.
The AGO SVP Unit is responsible for prosecuting sex predator cases for 38 of Washington’s 39 counties (King County being the exception). In Fiscal Year 2013, the unit tried 19 cases, won 16 civil commitments and secured one recommitment. One trial ended in a hung jury and one offender was found by a jury not to meet criteria to be committed as a sexually violent predator.
As of October 2013, 301 sexually violent predators were in the Special Commitment Center program in Washington state.
The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Attorney General Bob Ferguson is working hard to protect consumers and seniors against fraud, keep our communities safe, protect our environment and stand up for our veterans. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.
Janelle Guthrie, Director of Communications, (360) 586-0725
Alison Dempsey-Hall, Deputy Communications Director, (206) 641-1335