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People v. Walker

June 15, 2000

IN RE: THE DETENTION OF TROY A. WALKER, INMATE NO. B28416, THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,
v.
TROY A. WALKER, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Coles County No. 98MR21 Honorable Ashton C. Waller, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Garman

Following a November 1998 jury trial in the circuit court of Coles County, respondent Troy A. Walker was found to be a sexually violent person, pursuant to the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act (Act) (725 ILCS 207/1 et seq. (West 1998)). He was committed to the Department of Human Services (Department) at the Sheridan Correctional Center (Sheridan). He appeals the jury's finding and his commitment to Sheridan. We affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

On April 9, 1998, the State filed a petition asking that respondent be declared a sexually violent person and committed to the Department. The petition alleged that on November 28, 1994, the trial court sentenced respondent to a term of four years' probation upon his conviction of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. 720 ILCS 5/12-16 (West 1992). On January 23, 1995, the State filed a petition to revoke respondent's probation based upon respondent's contact with a five-year-old female. On February 27, 1995, the trial court sentenced respondent to a five-year prison term. On January 3, 1997, respondent was released on mandatory supervised release. On July 31, 1997, a parole warrant was issued for his arrest because he had touched a woman between the legs while in Cunningham Park in Mattoon. Respondent was arrested and committed to the Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC). The petition further alleged that respondent was to be released from DOC on April 18, 1998, and that he had been diagnosed as having mental disorders, including pedophilia, alcohol abuse, and cannabis abuse. He also has borderline intellectual functioning and a seizure disorder. The petition also alleged that respondent was dangerous to others because his mental disorders create a substantial probability that he will engage in acts of sexual violence. Following a hearing on April 14, 1998, the trial court found probable cause to commit respondent to the Department. Dr. Ronald Matthew was appointed respondent's expert to conduct an examination of him.

A jury trial commenced on November 10, 1998. Carol Waters testified that she had previously dated respondent. She called police after respondent touched her vaginal area over her clothes. The only reason she did so was because her grandmother disliked respondent.

Officer John McCain of the Mattoon police department testified that the park where the incident took place is near an elementary school. The students use the park for recess. The park contains playground equipment and is frequented by children.

Sherry Kalicak, a psychologist for DOC, testified that she is the lead therapist for the sex-offender program at Graham Correctional Center (Graham), a voluntary residential treatment program. Respondent was in the treatment program from July 1996 to January 1997. Respondent told her that his first victim was a six- or seven-year-old nephew, whom respondent penetrated anally while armed with a knife. Respondent was 13 years old at the time. He stated he had been similarly abused when he was about this child's age. A 14-year-old male relative penetrated respondent anally while armed with a knife. Respondent was placed in foster care after his abuse of the nephew was discovered. While in the foster home, respondent orally and anally penetrated a child who was several years younger than him. He used force in this assault. Respondent was placed at Adolph Meyer. While there, he molested two younger boys. He was then placed in Salem, where he used force to molest younger boys. Respondent was next placed in St. Mary's Home for Boys in Beaverton, Oregon.

Kalicak testified that when respondent was 18 years old, he got a 13-year-old girl intoxicated. When she passed out, he sexually assaulted her. He fondled the genitals of his nine-year-old grandniece, who was his next victim. Respondent told Kalicak that he had molested a total of 10 boys and 2 girls.

Kalicak testified that respondent reported having persistent sexual fantasies that would intrude upon his thoughts frequently. These fantasies involved not only having sex with virgins but raping young girls, tying them up, and killing them. During his six months of treatment at Graham, respondent developed a basic understanding of his offense cycle and what his high-risk factors were. Respondent was also able to have empathy for his victims. Kalicak had no information as to the physical characteristics of the 13-year-old girl that respondent sexually assaulted. Respondent is at high risk for reoffending.

Anthony Schaab, a licensed clinical psychologist, testified that he is chief of mental health services for DOC and acting clinical director of the sexually violent persons evaluation unit at Sheridan. The program for sexually violent persons under the Act has a staff of three clinical psychologists. They screen files of sex offenders who are within 90 to 120 days of release. This includes DOC's master files on each offender, which contain all historical data, psychological reports, criminal history, and information on the offender's behavior while incarcerated. The staff and Schaab meet on a monthly basis and go through every case they have screened. The number may range from 70 to 100 cases. They vote as a group on which cases they feel may most likely be candidates for commitment under the Act. Over the last year, they have recommended about 23% of the cases they screen to be further evaluated. The psychologist who screened a particular case then interviews the offender. Approximately 25% of cases that are marked for further evaluation are then referred to the Attorney General for commitment proceedings. This amounts to about 7.5% of all cases initially screened. Of that 7.5%, approximately 5% actually result in court proceedings.

Schaab testified that on December 1, 1997, he conducted a comprehensive evaluation of respondent's mental condition to determine his eligibility for commitment under the Act. Schaab gave respondent a set of questions referred to as the Hare Psychopathy Checklist. This is a series of questions that cover the person's entire life history and experiences. The entire interview took approximately two hours. Schaab's diagnosis of respondent was based upon the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, currently the fourth edition (hereafter DSM-IV). DSM-IV is the standard for diagnoses in the United States for psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers. Schaab diagnosed respondent with (1) pedophilia, sexually attracted to both male and female young children; (2) alcohol abuse; (3) marijuana abuse; and (4) borderline intellectual functioning.

Schaab testified that pedophilia means displaying, over at least a six-month period, a pattern of sexual arousal or sexual behavior toward prepubescent young children ages 13 and under. The perpetrator has to be at least 16 years old and 5 years older than the victim. Respondent was 18 years old when he sexually assaulted the 13-year-old girl and 22 years old when he fondled his 9-year-old grandniece. Thus, respondent has offended multiple times against male and female children. Many of those instances involved children who were at least five years younger than respondent.

Schaab testified that respondent admitted in his interview that he had used alcohol very heavily, starting when he was 18 years old. The diagnosis of borderline intellectual functioning is a factor in pedophilia because lower functioning makes it more difficult to learn what deviant sexual urges are and how to control them. Schaab expressed an opinion within a reasonable degree of psychological certainty that a substantial probability exists that respondent will engage in future acts of sexual violence. Based on respondent's history, his greatest probability to reoffend would involve young children. Schaab's opinion that respondent is substantially likely to engage in future acts of sexual violence is based on (1) consideration of factors shown by research to increase the probability that a sex offender will reoffend and (2) the fact that respondent possesses several of these factors.

Schaab relied on certain studies regarding sex offenders, such as the Hanson and Bussiere study conducted in 1996. That study did a "meta-analysis," which involved the combining of research findings from multiple psychological studies into, in effect, one study. The analysis provided a list of factors that are most frequently related to increased danger of reoffending. Many of these factors apply to respondent. Respondent was unsuccessful in his parole because he violated its conditions and engaged in behavior he knew created a high risk of reoffending. Schaab testified that he agrees that respondent has a basic understanding of (1) his offense cycle, (2) a substantial portion of his high-risk factors, (3) intervention, and (4) empathy for his victims. He also has developed some coping strategies for intervention to take place. The sexual assaults that respondent committed during his teen years would not alone justify a diagnosis of pedophilia as an adult. Whether a 13-year-old girl had reached puberty would need to be taken into consideration in deciding whether a sexual act against the girl was an act of pedophilia. Schaab did not ask respondent about the physical characteristics of the 13-year-old girl he assaulted. The documents in respondent's file did not reveal anything about the girl's level of physical maturity.

Schaab testified that respondent showed "very[,] very little emotion" when discussing the impact of his actions on his victims. He seems to have an intellectual understanding of the impact of his actions on his victims, but he could not identify emotionally with the victims. Lacking an emotional understanding of the impact on victims would reduce motivation to change the offender's behavior.

A stipulation was read to the jury concerning respondent's conviction for his acts against his grandniece. Pertinent terms of his probation included (1) successfully completing all requirements of the sex offender treatment program at Coles County Mental Health, (2) obtaining a drug and alcohol evaluation and completing any recommended treatment, (3) abstaining from alcohol and drugs, (4) abstaining from any contact with children under 17 years of age, and (5) spending 180 days in jail. Within two weeks of his release from the Coles County jail, the State filed a petition to revoke respondent's probation for having contact with a five-year-old girl.

Paul Heaton was the State's next witness. He testified that he is a licensed clinical psychologist working for Affiliated Psychologists in Chicago. His firm is under contract with the Department to provide evaluations of sexually violent persons. Those evaluations are done only after Schaab or another psychologist under Schaab's ...


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