William Ploof – Repeat Sex Offender – Pedophile with Multiple Victims Whines for Release

Facts:

*Convicted of molesting boys in 1993

*Convicted of molesting boys in 1996

*Convicted of molesting boys in 1997

*Couldn’t finish treatment due to sexually assaulting inmates

*Diagnosed and self-described Pedophile

*Claims 20-50 victims.

William Ploof’s claim that he sexually assaulted 20 to 50 people, many of them minors, is horrible and inexcusable but not enough to keep him locked up beyond his sentence under the state’s new sexual predator law, his defense attorneys said yesterday.

Ploof’s past, which includes a 10-year prison sentence for two sexual assaults on one male victim, does not predetermine his future, public defender Lisa Wolford told jurors yesterday.

“Bill Ploof is a changed man,” she said.

Ploof, 49, is the first person to stand trial under the new law, which allows the state to incarcerate sex offenders for treatment beyond their prison sentences if a jury believes they are likely to commit more acts of sexual violence. Before serving his recent sentence, Ploof was convicted of misdemeanor sexual assaults on two teenage boys in 1991 and 1996.

Ploof finished his prison sentence in June 2007 without completing the sex offender treatment program. He tried twice, quitting the first time and being dismissed the second for sexual misconduct on another inmate, according to prison records.

Those failures as well as Ploof’s criminal past and diagnoses as a pedophile make him a candidate for further incarceration and treatment under the new law, according to county prosecutors. If convicted, Ploof would spend at least five years behind bars and would face more time if he remained dangerous. He remains incarcerated pending the outcome of the trial.

Yesterday, Ploof sat with his attorneys, expressionless, as he listened to prosecutors recount his many crimes against children.

After opening statements, a Hillsborough County Superior Court jury of four men and 11 women, three of them alternates, mostly heard about Ploof’s past and his self-described sexual addiction.

When asked to describe himself during his second attempt at treatment in 2003, Ploof wrote, “I’m one hell of a lover and . . . I’m a sex addict,” said former prison counselor Ron Converse.

Ploof also told counselors he had no values and would re-offend if he thought he could get away with it, Converse said.

Ploof has also said he felt controlled by his sexual fantasies against children and others and didn’t feel bad about his behaviors.

And while Ploof estimated his minor and adult victims to number between 20 and 50, he could remember specific details for only about 18 of his minor victims, prosecutors said. Most of those victims were between 9 and 15 while Ploof was between 25 and 35. He’s never been charged for most of those crimes.

Two victims of those crimes include a 9-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl. Ploof told prison counselors he sexually assaulted them because he found them attractive and because they “were there,” according to prison records.

In addition to Converse, other witnesses included one of Ploof’s teenage victims who is now 29, a prison sergeant who disciplined Ploof for sexual misconduct in prison and another prison therapist who treated Ploof.

The 29-year old man, who met Ploof through a friend in 1996 when he was 16 and Ploof was about 36, said Ploof propositioned him for sex. The man said he declined but woke up the next morning to find Ploof touching him sexually. The man said he shoved Ploof away and said no when Ploof then asked if he would like oral sex.

Wolford and co-counsel Tony Sculimbrene disputed the significance of Ploof’s history and said even though he did not complete the sex offender treatment program, the nearly 10 months he attended taught him how to control his impulses.

Ploof accepts responsibility for his past crimes, and he has saved money for an apartment and found treatment programs in anticipation of his release from prison. His honesty during treatment in prison should not penalize him now, Wolford said.

She told jurors a defense expert will tell them Ploof does not remain a danger if released.

To keep Ploof in custody for additional treatment, the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office must convince jurors of three things: He’s been convicted of a sexually violent offense, he suffers from a mental abnormality that makes additional acts of sexual violence likely, and he doesn’t have a mental illness that would make him eligible for commitment to the state hospital.

Prosecutors have an additional challenge of educating jurors on the new law, under which proceedings can seem like a combination of a criminal trial and civil case. While there are no new charges involved, Ploof faces what amounts to additional time behind bars.

There’s no question Ploof meets the first qualification of the new law: He was convicted of aggravated felonious sexual assault against an 11-year-old boy in 1993.

County prosecutor Ross McLeod told jurors yesterday the last matter isn’t in dispute either because state experts will testify that Ploof doesn’t suffer from a mental illness. What the case will focus on, McLeod said, is whether Ploof’s past diagnoses as a pedophile and his self-described sexual hunger and obsession make him an ongoing danger.

“When you consider all of this evidence, you will know that this self-proclaimed child molester who is unable to control himself is a serious danger to others and is a sexually violent predator,” McLeod told jurors.

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

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