Odell Fisher Sr – State seeks civil confinement for Repeat Sex Offender

The state is seeking a sexual predator commitment for a Kenosha man, who is facing charges for allegedly molesting a 6-year-old girl in Racine.

Odell Fisher Sr., 58, has been on the Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry since 1995, when he was convicted of second-degree sexual assault of a child and child enticement in Kenosha County. Since then, he has been charged in Racine County with first-degree sexual assault of child without great bodily harm and violating the state’s Sex Offender Registry. He was also convicted in Racine County of battery by prisoners in 1995.

Fisher’s Racine County charges stem from an August 2007 incident. A 6-year-old girl playing outside was reportedly sent into a home to use the bathroom. Fisher was inside the house, and allegedly forced the girl to touch his genitals, offered her money and told her not to tell anyone about it. The girl reported the incident to her mother.

Fisher’s jury trial on the sexual assault charge was scheduled to begin last month, but has been taken off the calendar. His sentence for his 1995 conviction was due to end in January, but the filing of the commitment petition will keep him in jail or prison until it is resolved. He also has a $10,000 cash bond that is keeping him in custody on the Racine County charge.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice filed a petition for commitment Jan. 26, under the sexually violent person statute. On Feb. 3 a Kenosha judge found there was probable cause to continue with the proceedings.

People are subject to civil commitments when they have been convicted of a sexually violent offense, have a mental disorder and are dangerous to others because the disorder makes it likely that they will commit further acts of sexual violence. Once committed, people remain in the custody and care of the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services until no longer considered sexually violent.

Assistant Attorney General Don Latorraca said the law that allows these commitments is set up to “provide care and treatment in a secure setting for individuals that are identified as sexually violent persons.”

The state does not seek commitment for every sex offender, Latorraca said.

“Only a very small number of offenders who go through corrections have been referred to for the filing of a court case,” he said.

If committed, people are sent to one of two state facilities for treatment where they

receive treatment and, if they are deemed to no longer be a danger, they can be released.

“There are people who are moving through the system,” Latorraca said. “The person who’s committed gets a new evaluation every year. That evaluator is determining do they still have the disorder, are they still a risk. They may make a recommendation that they no longer meet the criteria, or they might say the person could be adequately treated in the community.”

There have been about 400 commitments under the law since the 1990s, Latorraca said.

There are about 80 cases that are pending.

In about 160 cases, commitment proceedings were dismissed or denied.

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”

………Sarah Tofte

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