The below is OCEAN Newsletter Volume 1, Issue 9, Article 3 (Jan. 15, 2020) published by Russell J. Hatton & Daniel A. Wilson from the gulag in Moose Lake Minnesota.
The greatest power of the MSOP clinician is the ability to convince the client that he is somehow different than others. However, anyone is capable of getting committed, even MSOP clinicians:
. .. a clinical therapist at the Minnesota Sex Offender Program and former director of the MSU Women’s Center is accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a girl and threatening to kill her if she told. Wanda Lou Elizabeth Viento, 57 of St. Peter was charged with several felonies Friday afternoon … When asked if she would take a polygraph test, Viento [ said] that polygraph testing is not reliable and she knew this because she used them at the treatment center. 1
One may argue that this is only an allegation and that Mrs. Viento is innocent until proven guilty. However, that argument only holds in criminal court, not civil court. Mrs. Viento could have easily been civilly committed for multiple allegations of sexual assault, even if she was not charged with a crime. 2
To get civilly committed in Minnesota it is not necessary to prove that a person is out of control, or that he is physically violent, but only that he was emotionally harmful to others. In court, hearsay is admissible.
Allegations are admissible. Self-disclosed crimes, even admitted as part of treatment decades ago, are admissible. The person being considered for commitment does not have a right to a jury trial and a sex offense conviction is not necessary.3 In fact, 12% of the men civilly committed at MSOP have either no felony convictions of any kind, or have an “unknown” criminal record. That means there are about 90 men without a criminal history, committed to MSOP.4
At page 2 1, the DSM-5 explains that an individual must display a “current presentation” (6 months for sexual disorders5 ) of their diagnosis for them to be considered having a “mental disorder.” Most of the clients at MSOP are not currently displaying the traits of a mental disorder. MSOP knows this, so they tried to get around releasing clients by changing the legal status of the MSOP facility. Melissa Hamilton from Pace University School of Law explains what happens when law and psychiatry mix:
Fear of sexual predators has led society to adopt a law-psychiatry interface in which sexual offending is merged into a disease-based philosophy to justify various forms of punishment and preventive control. Sex crimes have become conflated with psychiatric disease. The multiple concerns expressed herein strongly suggest that the use of the psychiatric paraphilias in legal proceedings tends to undermine the independence and integrity of the legal and psychiatric professions … The widespread acceptance of mental disorders for sexual deviance, despite [the] substantial scientific problems, ignores significant issues of due process and equity considering they help dictate infringements on fundamental interests of defendants.
Unfortunately, it appears that law and psychiatry will remain complicit in adapting diagnoses of mental illness to criminal justice officials’ desire to control sex offenders . .. The collaboration threatens not only the liberty and privacy interests of those who commit sex-based offenses. The potential exists for a contagion effect whereby interest groups might be encouraged to qualify all manner of criminal behaviors as distinct mental disorders. Accordingly, if the interaction between law
and psychiatry continues in this manner, all criminals may be deemed to have mental disorders. This outcome makes no logical sense, undermines the core tenets of the law, infringes upon fundamental rights, and methodically destroys trust in the science of psychiatry. 6
This “law-psychiatry interface” is in part, why MSOP has been able to get away with what they are doing.
They maintain control of their scheme not with facts or science, but with confusion and technicalities of law and procedure. Minnesota Department of Corrections Director of Research Grant Duwe concluded that, “nearly two-thirds of these offenders [at MSOP] would be unlikely to be rearrested for another sex offense in their lifetime if they were released to the community. 7
Commenting on Duwe’s, conclusions, Professor Eric Janus says:
Applying this “false positive” rate to the 700-plus people who are committed, we can conclude that over 400 human beings are being held unconstitutionally because of the MSOP’s intentional thwarting of the duration limits. MSOP’s failure to adhere to the duration limits is not simply a sign that the program is not working properly. It is an intentional design feature of MSOP that other states have
eschewed. It represents an intentional rejection of the core constitutional marker of a genuine civil commitment scheme. The Court of Appeals’ ruling allows no remedy for this misuse of civil confinement. 8
We are fairly certain that the “intentional thwarting of the duration limits” refers to the variances that MSOP has applied to the treatment process. To understand how variances affect MSOP, see our article “Creating Civil Commitment Chaos” at the MSOP Reform Facebook page.
1 Krohn, Tim. “Sex Offender Therapist Charged with Child Sex Crime.” Mankato Free Press, 27 Mar. 2015, firstname.lastname@example.org
2Minn. Stat. § 253.D
3 James R. Nobles, Evaluation Report, Civil Commitment of Sex Offenders, Mar. 2011, OLA, Centennial Building, Ste. 140, 658 Cedar St., St. Paul, MN 55155-4708. email@example.com, www.auditor.leg.state.mn.us. (651) 296-4708. pp. 24-26
4Ibid. at p. 7
5 American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Arlington, VA, American Psychiatric Association, 2013, pp.685 – 705
6Melissa Hamilton. “Adjudicating Sex Crimes as Mental Disease,” 33 Pace L. Rev. 536, Spring Is. 2013, © 2013 Pace University School of Law. pp 63, 64
7Grant Duwe, “To What Extent Does Civil Commitment Reduce Sexual Recidivism? Estimating the Selective Incapacitation Effects in Minnesota”, 42 J. Crim. Justice 193, 201 (2013). (Doc. No. 427 (February 20, 2014 Order) at 67 n.48 (citing Doc. No. 410 ,-r 2, Ex. 1, at 8).)
8 “Brief of Law Professors as Amici Curiae in Support of Petition for Writ of Certiorari” pp. 12, 13.