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People v. Demont





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Henry County; the Hon. Edward Keefe, Judge, presiding.


Respondent, Jessie Lee DeMont, was charged by information in the circuit court of Henry County with the offenses of attempted aggravated kidnaping and indecent solicitation of a child. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, pars. 10-2(a)(2), 11-6(a)(2).) Following a preliminary hearing, the court found probable cause to hold respondent for trial. Subsequently, the State filed an altogether different petition to have DeMont declared a sexually dangerous person (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 105-1.01). Although the proceedings to commit a person as a sexually dangerous person fall under the criminal code, they are somewhat of a legal hybrid. This is so because the relevant statute pronounces that the proceedings are civil in nature but that the burden shall be as in a criminal case. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 105-3.01.

Instead of a trial on the criminal information, the trial court ordered a psychiatric examination of the respondent and held a bench trial on the dangerousness petition. As a result, respondent was declared a sexually dangerous person and committed to the Department of Corrections. The Director of the Department of Corrections was appointed guardian of the person of Jessie Lee DeMont and was ordered to keep the respondent safely until such time as it appears he is no longer a sexually dangerous person. The Director was further ordered to provide care and treatment of the respondent to help effect respondent's recovery.

Respondent presents three issues for our review: (1) whether the Sexually Dangerous Persons Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 105-12) excludes the legally insane from its coverage; (2) whether the trial court erred in processing respondent under the Act since there is uncontradicted evidence that respondent's mental disorder is incurable, a condition which respondent contends is at odds with the treatment-oriented purpose of the Act; and (3) whether Miranda warnings are required before a respondent may be examined by a psychiatrist pursuant to a court order in a sexually dangerous person proceeding.

Five witnesses testified for the State.

Tim Perkins, an investigator for the Henry County sheriff's department, testified that he first became acquainted with DeMont when respondent was being held in custody on an earlier indecent liberties charge. Perkins related that since then, the department had received numerous complaints concerning the respondent's conduct. Both a local school district and the school's bus service had complained of respondent's loitering in the school yard and near school bus stops. Perkins further testified that on May 23, 1985, he arrested respondent following a report to the sheriff's department by Sue Schatteman. According to Investigator Perkins, Mrs. Schatteman reported that her daughter had been accosted while waiting for the school bus by a man in a white station wagon who had asked her to get in the wagon with him. Based on information supplied by Mrs. Schatteman and by a school bus driver who witnessed the incident, Perkins arrested the respondent. After being given Miranda warnings, respondent informed Perkins that he had never intended to hurt the Schatteman girl. He had merely wanted to tell her and the other children about an upcoming carnival. After respondent's arrest he was taken to the Henry County jail. A later strip search disclosed that respondent was wearing a pair of ladies red silk underwear.

Jacqueline Ann Russell followed Perkins to the stand. Russell was the school bus driver whose route had placed her at the scene of the alleged misconduct. She testified that, on occasion, respondent had driven slowly in front of her bus, forcing her to brake to avoid a collision. On still other occasions, he had pretended to masturbate and make obscene gestures when Russell drove by with her bus full of children. Russell testified that she was driving on the date in question when she saw respondent stop his car near Sommer Schatteman and speak to her. Sommer is Mrs. Schatteman's six-year-old daughter. Russell stated that as the school bus approached, the respondent sped away.

Sommer and her mother provided the court with the details of Sommer's encounter. Around 7:30 in the morning, Mrs. Schatteman had sent her daughter down the driveway to wait for the bus. The bus stop was visible from their house. Mrs. Schatteman saw a white station wagon stop near Sommer. Sommer testified a middle-age man with grey hair opened his car window, told her it was warm inside and offered to drive her to school. Sommer told the man "no" and, becoming scared, ran back toward her house. Mrs. Schatteman testified that she saw all this from the house.

The pivotal witness to testify was Dr. Robert M. Edwards. Dr. Edwards was one of two psychiatrists ordered to examine the respondent. Dr. Edwards was the only psychiatrist with whom the respondent had cooperated. In Dr. Edwards' opinion, respondent suffered from the mental disorder of pedophilia. Pedophilia is defined as a sexual preoccupation with preadolescent girls manifested by a compulsive acting out of sexual desire. Respondent's condition was the result of a non-psychotic organic brain syndrome. This condition had been caused by a severe head injury with frontal-lobe brain damage. Damage to this area of the brain left the respondent still technically able to know where he was and to meet the concrete demands of day-to-day living but severely impaired his social judgment. The respondent saw nothing wrong with asking a preadolescent girl to have sexual relations with him. Dr. Edwards noted that respondent generally understood the charges against him but could not understand why anyone was upset, since respondent had neither harmed nor intended to harm Sommer Schatteman. Given the respondent's two conditions, pedophilia and organic brain syndrome, Dr. Edwards opined respondent was a sexually dangerous person.

Formal evidence in the case concluded with the introduction of a certified copy of respondent's previous conviction for indecent liberties with a child. A copy of Dr. Edwards's formal report was also admitted into evidence. The report noted, inter alia, that "no amount of therapy has had or will have any effect on [respondent's] behavior."

The first issue before this court is whether the Sexually Dangerous Persons Act excludes insane persons from its coverage. Respondent contends that his mental disorder, in particular, his inability to appreciate the criminality of his preference for preadolescent girls, places him within the legal definition of insanity. And insane persons, he claims, are excluded from coverage under the Act. We disagree.

• 1 Section 1.01 of the Act defines sexually dangerous persons as follows:

"All persons suffering from a mental disorder, which mental disorder has existed for a period of not less than one year, immediately prior to the filing of the petition hereinafter provided for, coupled with criminal propensities to the commission of sex offenses, and who have demonstrated propensities toward acts of sexual assault or acts of sexual molestation of ...

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