OLYMPIA — Attorneys from the Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) Unit of the Attorney General’s Office were successful in persuading a Tri-Cities jury to prevent the release of a Franklin County sex predator who has been confined to the state’s Special Commitment Center for the past 13 years.
Ronald Love, 56, has been convicted of three sexually violent offenses committed over decades. He was confined to the Special Commitment Center upon his release from prison in 2001, when the state filed a petition alleging he was a sexually violent predator (SVP). In 2005, a trial judge agreed Love was, and ordered Love’s indefinite commitment.
In a trial that started on May 15, Love asked to be released unconditionally into the community.
Under Washington’s civil commitment law, the Attorney General’s Office was required to demonstrate Love suffers from specific mental abnormalities and/or personality disorders that cause him to have serious difficulty in controlling his dangerous behavior and make him likely to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence unless confined to a secure facility.
Attorneys from the Attorney General’s SVP Unit argued that Love meets the criteria of a sexually violent predator, thus continues to pose a great risk to community safety, and should remain confined indefinitely to the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island. The jury agreed.
“The people of the Tri-Cities deserve to be safe from sexually violent predators,” Ferguson said. “I’m proud my sexually violent predator team persuaded this jury to keep Mr. Love confined and out of the community.”
In 1990, Washington became the first state in the nation to pass a law permitting the involuntary civil commitment of sex offenders after they have served their criminal sentences. The Attorney General’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). 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 March 2014, 296 sexually violent predators are in the state’s Special Commitment Program.
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, Communications Director, (360) 586-0725
- Alison Dempsey-Hall, Dep. Communications Director, (206) 641-1335