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October 13, 1999

Court Orders Civil Commitment of Offender Under Sexually Violent Predator Law

"Stipulated" trial was conducted in Polk County. Court orders Daniel Garren to Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual Offenders.

Des Moines-- Polk County District Court Judge Donna Paulsen has ordered Daniel E. Garren to be committed to the Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual Offenders, under Iowa's Sexually Violent Predator Law.

Judge Paulsen issued the order Tuesday following a trial before the judge in Polk County District Court in Des Moines. Paulsen ordered Garren, age 55, committed to the Civil Commitment Unit for Sex Offenders operated by the State Department of Human Services at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center at Oakdale, near Iowa City.

According to the statute, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an offender has previously been convicted of a sexually violent offense and suffers from a mental abnormality that makes the person likely to engage in predatory acts constituting sexually violent offenses unless confined in a secure facility.

Most of the trial was stipulated, with written evidence entered before the judge with the agreement of Garren and the Attorney General's Office, which serves in the role of prosecutor. The stipulation of facts and the report of a psychological evaluation conducted by Dr. Dennis Doren, a psychologist who is an expert in the evaluation of sexually violent predators, were admitted into evidence, along with deposition testimony by Garren.

Garren stipulated to various facts cited by Judge Paulsen in issuing her finding that Garren is a sexually violent predator. Paulsen committed Garren to the custody of the Department of Human Services "for control, care and treatment until such time as [Garren's] mental abnormality has so changed that he is safe to be at large and will no longer constitute a menace to the health, safety and welfare" of the people of Iowa.

Evidence presented at the stipulated trial included:

That Garren was convicted in Polk County in 1973 for child stealing, in which Garren abducted an 11-year-old child with the intent to commit sexual abuse.

That he was convicted of two counts of lewd and lascivious acts in 1982 in Bakersfield, California. That he was convicted of the same charge in 1988 in Redding, California. That he was convicted of third degree sexual abuse in Des Moines in 1994. That each of those offenses are sexually violent offenses under Iowa law.

That Garren suffers from pedophilia, a sexual disorder which qualifies as a mental abnormality under Iowa law.

That the mental abnormality "predisposes him to commit future acts of sexual violence that would constitute a menace to the health and safety of others."

That evaluations of Garren placed Garren "in a category indicating a high risk to commit future acts of sexual violence if not held in a secure facility," and that Garren admitted he would sexually re-offend if he does not receive treatment.

Persons committed to the unit must be segregated from other patients, must receive treatment, and must receive annual evaluations and review by the court to determine whether their mental abnormalities have changed enough that the offender is safe to be at large.

Persons committed to the unit will be treated to the maximum extent possible as patients and not prisoners. They will receive comprehensive treatment including classes and groups, and group and activity therapy.

A separate civil commitment jury trial concerning Andrew Gaal began Monday in Linn County District Court in Cedar Rapids and has not yet concluded.

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