Wesley Wayne Miller – Repeat Sex Offender – Killer heads back to prison

FORT WORTH — Wesley Wayne Miller, one of Tarrant County’s most notorious sexual predators and killers, is headed back to prison.

Miller, 46, violated terms of his civil commitment order by having a romantic relationship with a female jailer at a Tarrant County facility where he was housed after his release from prison.

For that violation and two others, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison Friday under a plea agreement.

Before the plea was finalized, prosecutors consulted with the sister of Miller’s 1982 murder victim and with another woman he attempted to rape, said prosecutor Alana Minton.

Miller, a former Castleberry High School football star, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the stabbing death of Retha Stratton, an 18-year-old Castleberry cheerleader. He later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years in prison on an unrelated charge of burglary with intent to commit rape.

Over two decades, he was repeatedly released on mandatory supervision under a state law in effect when he was sentenced. Each time, he was sent back because he refused to participate in sex-offender counseling or was accused of another crime, including stalking a Wichita Falls woman.

In 2006, Miller became the first convicted murderer to be civilly committed under a 1999 law, which was expanded in 2006 to include killers with sexually motivated conduct.

That meant that Miller, after he was released from prison in 2007, had to live in supervised housing, follow a long list of rules and be supervised by the Council on Sex Offender Treatment.

After initially being sent to another facility, he was housed in Tarrant County’s Cold Springs unit. Last May, he was charged with violating the rules by having a relationship with a 21-year-old jailer. He was then transferred to the county’s downtown facility, where he was charged with two other violations — visiting with his father and brother, who had been taken off his approved-visitors list.

Miller’s attorney, Curtis Fortinberry, contended that the charges should be thrown out because the civil commitment rules did not apply because he was living in a secure facility.

Judge Mike Thomas denied Fortinberry’s motion to quash the indictments.

After his ruling, Fortinberry said Miller agreed to plead guilty to all three charges in exchange for concurrent 10 years sentences. If he had been convicted by a jury, he faced 20-year sentences on each of the three charges because of his prior convictions, Fortinberry said.

Because prosecutors were asking that the three sentences be served consecutively, Miller was looking at 60 years in prison if he hadn’t taken the plea, he said.

However, Miller will not be eligible for parole on his 10-year sentence under terms of the civil commitment law, Minton said. That means he will have to serve all 10 years, she said.

Miller will be allowed to appeal the judge’s ruling on the motion. Fortinberry said he hopes an appellate court will rule that the civil commitment law is unconstitutional.

“We’re looking for some appellate court to clarify the law,” he said. “If they declare it unconstitutional, the Legislature will clean it up and make it right. It’s a good law. It serves its purpose, but the way it’s written does not.”

Minton disagrees.

“He’s saying that because Mr. Miller is housed at Cold Springs, he is being confined; therefore the rules don’t apply,” she said. “But the law doesn’t say that. It says he can be housed in any facility the Council of Sex Offender Treatment say he can and he has to follow the civil commitment rules.

“Mr. Miller was aware of what his requirements were under his civil commitment. He knowingly violated those requirements and this is the consequence.”

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

………Sarah Tofte

Kenneth Longsdorff – Repeat Sex Offender – Pedophile is Facing Civil Confinement

WALLA WALLA, Wash. – A trial is set for next Wednesday in Walla Walla Superior Court to determine whether a prison inmate completing a sentence for child molesting should be committed as a sex predator.

The state attorney general’s office says 58-year-old Kenneth Longsdorff is a pedophile. The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin reports he also has a previous conviction for raping three boys.

The civil commitment trial will determine whether he will be locked up indefinitely for treatment at the Special Commitment Center for sex predators on McNeil Island.

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

Robert Bennett – Repeat Sex Offender – Guilty Sexual Assault of 11 year old

“There’s nothing favorable to say about Mr. Bennett.
… He’s essentially a plague on society”


A previously convicted sex offender who was found to be at “moderate” risk to offend again was sentenced Friday to eight years in prison for the sexual assault of an 11-year-old county girl last year.

Robert Bennett, 36, of Burlington City, pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault earlier this year. At the time of the assault, he was already a registered sex offender under Megan’s Law for previous convictions.

Bennett is listed on the Megan’s Law Internet registry site as a Tier 2 offender, meaning authorities determined he posed a moderate risk of re-offense. Bennett has been on the registry since he was released from state prison in 2003 for convictions for sexual assault and criminal sexual contact in the county in 1997, according to the state Department of Corrections’ Web site.

“There’s nothing favorable to say about Mr. Bennett. … He’s essentially a plague on society,” said Kevin Morgan, Burlington County assistant prosecutor. “I’m fully confident he’ll do it again. … He just doesn’t care.”

Morgan said Bennett faces civil commitment at the conclusion of his prison term. Megan’s Law includes provisions for involuntary commitment for inmates who complete their maximum sentences but “who are believed to be mentally ill and constitute threats to the public safety.”

Superior Court Judge James J. Morley noted that Bennett victimized two 14-year-old girls when he was 25. “As you got older, you went younger,” he said.

Bennett tearfully apologized to the victim’s family in court, but one woman quickly rejected the offer. “I don’t accept it. I hate you. I hate you,” she said sobbing. “I hope you rot in hell.”

Bennett knew the victim and her family.

“He took and abused her. He took away her innocence. I trusted him,” said the girl’s grandmother, whose name is being withheld to protect the victim’s identity. “I don’t understand how you take a child’s innocence.”

Morley described Bennett as “hedonistic, opportunistic and exploitative” and said his apology was “too little, too late.”

“You are so completely wrapped up in yourself that you take whatever is around,” the judge said. “You knew how old this girl was. You knew she was a child.”

He said he was comfortable with the sentence only because of the high likelihood that Bennett will be civilly committed. Morley also ordered him to get therapy, as recommended by doctors.

Court-appointed defense attorney Bonnie Geller Gorman said Bennett, a father of six who owes about $30,000 in child support, has a “raging alcohol abuse problem” that has been a factor in his behavior.

She said he hopes he gets help for his anger and substance abuse issues. “He knows the risk of civil commitment,” Geller Gorman said.

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

William Ploof – Repeat Sex Offender – Jury decides not to let him create more victims


A jury has decided convicted child molester William Ploof is a sexually violent predator who’s likely to strike again if not kept behind bars for further treatment. The jury of four men and eight women returned their verdict at about 2:30 this afternoon after deliberating about 6½ hours.

The verdict means Ploof, despite having finished his 10-year criminal sentence for sexually assaulting a boy twice in the 1990s, will remain incarcerated at the state prison’s Secure Psychiatric Unit for up to five years for sex offender treatment.

He is the first person to be convicted under the state’s new sexual predator law since it took effect in 2007. In addition to his sexual assault that landed him in prison, Ploof has claimed 20 to 50 other sexual assault victims, some of them children, according to prison records.

Prosecutor Michael Valentine of the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office has said he will ask Judge Gillian Abramson to sentence Ploof for the full five years. Ploof’s public defenders, Lisa Wolford and Anthony Sculimbrene, indicated this week they’ll ask for something less.

The law allows Ploof, 49, to appeal the jury’s verdict.

To keep Ploof behind bars, jurors had to conclude three things about Ploof: He suffers from pedophilia, the pedophilia makes him unable to control his urges and he’s likely to commit more acts of sexual violence.

The other two requirements of the law – that Ploof has been previously convicted of a sexually violent offense and that he doesn’t have a mental disorder that qualifies him for commitment to the state hospital – were not in dispute at trial. Ploof’s qualifying offense was his sexual assault on a young boy in 1993 and 1997. He performed oral sex on the boy both times, first underwater while swimming and the second time while the boy was asleep, according to court records.

During four days of trial, Valentine and prosecutor Ross McLeod argued that Ploof is a pedophile who can’t control his urges and is therefore likely to commit more acts of sexual violence.

They relied on Ploof’s sexual assault history, which he himself estimated included 20 to 50 adult and child victims, and his inability to complete sex offender treatment while in prison. Ploof quit the first time and was kicked out the second time for grabbing the crotch of another inmate.

The state also called as a witness psychologist Dr. Eric Mart, who evaluated Ploof and concluded he remains dangerous and is 30 to 48 percent likely to reoffend given his score on a recidivism test.

Ploofs own psychologist agreed with his score on the recidivism test

Ploof’s public defenders countered that with their own psychologist, Dr. Luis Rosell, who said Ploof has recovered from his pedophilia because he now says he’s attracted to teenage boys – not children. Rosell said Ploof has learned to avoid his high-risk behaviors like isolation and rationalization, and to stop himself from acting out if he does get a deviant urge.

In her closing yesterday, Wolford also challenged the validity and accuracy of the recidivism test Mart used and said the state relied too heavily on Ploof’s past and unfairly discredited the partial treatment he did get in prison.

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

………Sarah Tofte

William Ploof – Repeat Sex Offender – Jury decides not to let him create more victims

A jury has decided convicted child molester William Ploof is a sexually violent predator who’s likely to strike again if not kept behind bars for further treatment. The jury of four men and eight women returned their verdict at about 2:30 this afternoon after deliberating about 6½ hours.

The verdict means Ploof, despite having finished his 10-year criminal sentence for sexually assaulting a boy twice in the 1990s, will remain incarcerated at the state prison’s Secure Psychiatric Unit for up to five years for sex offender treatment.

He is the first person to be convicted under the state’s new sexual predator law since it took effect in 2007. In addition to his sexual assault that landed him in prison, Ploof has claimed 20 to 50 other sexual assault victims, some of them children, according to prison records.

Prosecutor Michael Valentine of the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office has said he will ask Judge Gillian Abramson to sentence Ploof for the full five years. Ploof’s public defenders, Lisa Wolford and Anthony Sculimbrene, indicated this week they’ll ask for something less.

The law allows Ploof, 49, to appeal the jury’s verdict.

To keep Ploof behind bars, jurors had to conclude three things about Ploof: He suffers from pedophilia, the pedophilia makes him unable to control his urges and he’s likely to commit more acts of sexual violence.

The other two requirements of the law – that Ploof has been previously convicted of a sexually violent offense and that he doesn’t have a mental disorder that qualifies him for commitment to the state hospital – were not in dispute at trial. Ploof’s qualifying offense was his sexual assault on a young boy in 1993 and 1997. He performed oral sex on the boy both times, first underwater while swimming and the second time while the boy was asleep, according to court records.

During four days of trial, Valentine and prosecutor Ross McLeod argued that Ploof is a pedophile who can’t control his urges and is therefore likely to commit more acts of sexual violence.

They relied on Ploof’s sexual assault history, which he himself estimated included 20 to 50 adult and child victims, and his inability to complete sex offender treatment while in prison. Ploof quit the first time and was kicked out the second time for grabbing the crotch of another inmate.

The state also called as a witness psychologist Dr. Eric Mart, who evaluated Ploof and concluded he remains dangerous and is 30 to 48 percent likely to reoffend given his score on a recidivism test.

Ploofs own psychologist agreed with his score on the recidivism test

Ploof’s public defenders countered that with their own psychologist, Dr. Luis Rosell, who said Ploof has recovered from his pedophilia because he now says he’s attracted to teenage boys – not children. Rosell said Ploof has learned to avoid his high-risk behaviors like isolation and rationalization, and to stop himself from acting out if he does get a deviant urge.

In her closing yesterday, Wolford also challenged the validity and accuracy of the recidivism test Mart used and said the state relied too heavily on Ploof’s past and unfairly discredited the partial treatment he did get in prison.

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

………Sarah Tofte

William Ploof – Repeat Sex Offender – Pedophile Apologist Scumbag tries to help him escape

Convicted child molester William Ploof is no longer dangerous, his expert witness told jurors yesterday, because he’s now attracted to teenage boys – not children – and has not been disciplined in prison for pedophiliac behaviors.

THERE ARE NO CHILDREN IN PRISON

And while Dr. Luis Rosell gave Ploof, 49, the same high score as a state expert on a recidivism test, Rosell said the results can’t be trusted in Ploof’s case because older offenders are less likely to reoffend and the test didn’t consider Ploof’s age.

Rosell, a psychologist from Iowa who often testifies for sex offenders, also said Ploof’s sexual pursuits behind bars are signs of therapeutic improvement even though they violate prison rules.

“From a treatment perspective, it can show that he’s accepting being with people his own age as opposed to younger individuals,” Rosell said.

THERE ARE NO CHILDREN IN PRISON

Prosecutor Michael Valentine of the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office challenged those conclusions vigorously during cross-examination, especially Rosell’s reliance on Ploof’s own claims of rehabilitation as important evidence.

Valentine noted that Ploof told one victim in 1991 he wouldn’t offend again but did, and he told another victim in 1996 he was a changed man. “Those (statements) weren’t true, were they?” Valentine asked Rosell. “No,” Rosell replied.

Ploof, who has claimed to have between 20 and 50 sexual assault victims, completed a 10-year sentence in 2007 for sexually assaulting a young boy in 1993 and 1997. But he remains in prison pending trial under the state’s new sexually violent predator law. He’s the first person to be tried under the new law, and much rests on the jury’s verdict.

Ploof will be freed if jurors believe, as Rosell said yesterday, that Ploof has changed in prison and is no longer dangerous. If they decide instead that he’s likely to commit more acts of sexual violence, Ploof will remain incarcerated for at least five more years for additional treatment.

Jurors, four men and eight women, are expected to begin deliberating tomorrow afternoon following closing arguments.

During four days of testimony, jurors have heard about Ploof’s criminal history, his many other assaults that were never charged and his failed attempts at sex offender treatment in prison. He quit the first time after three months because he was overwhelmed and anxious, according to prison records. He was kicked out the second time after almost six months for grabbing another inmate sexually.

With Rosell’s testimony yesterday, jurors have also now heard both sides’ mental health experts offer divergent views on Ploof’s likelihood of reoffending.

That question will be significant in their deliberations because the law says Ploof should remain incarcerated for treatment if he suffers from a mental abnormality that makes him unable to control himself and likely to commit more acts of sexual violence.

Dr. Eric Mart testified for the state last week that Ploof still suffers from pedophilia, even though he’s assaulted more teenage boys than underage children. Using the Static-99, a standard test, Mart put Ploof’s likelihood of reoffending within 10 years at between 30 and 48 percent.

The test considers an offender’s victims – their age, number, gender and whether they are known to the offender. It also asks whether an offender has been in a consensual intimate relationship for at least two years.

Mart and Rosell both gave Ploof an eight, a ranking associated with the 30 to 48 percent recidivism rate. Both got there using Ploof’s criminal, prison and treatment records and their own interviews with Ploof.

But Rosell came to vastly different conclusions about Ploof’s score on the recidivism test, his behavior in prison and his likely behavior after prison.

Ploof was a pedophile when he came to prison, Rosell said, but he’s not one now. That’s because he now denies sexual interest in underage children and has not been found fantasizing about or pursuing children in prison, Rosell said.

Specifically, he hasn’t been disciplined for cutting pictures of children out of magazines or watching movies starring children, Rosell said. “Just to think that because they are locked up and there are no children around, a person does not have access to objects like that would not be an accurate statement,” Rosell said.

Rosell also took a less pessimistic view of Ploof’s failed efforts to complete sex offender treatment.

He said Ploof spent about a year in treatment during his two efforts, which totaled about eight months. He benefited from what treatment he did get, Rosell said. Ploof told Rosell before trial that he has learned to respect other people’s boundaries and realizes now that his sexual assaults cause real pain for his victims. He also knows it’s dangerous for him to isolate and rationalize his assaults, Rosell said.

Mart and Rosell both gave Ploof an eight, a ranking associated with the 30 to 48 percent recidivism rate. Both got there using Ploof’s criminal, prison and treatment records and their own interviews with Ploof.

“It’s like someone who goes to high school two or three years but doesn’t get a diploma,” Rosell said. “Did they not learn anything?”

Rosell also said he was encouraged by the “realistic” plan Ploof has for life after prison. He has a list of possible employers, residences that accept sex offenders and out-patient treatment centers, Rosell said. And he’s saved about $800 from his prison jobs.

Mart and Rosell both gave Ploof an eight, a ranking associated with the 30 to 48 percent recidivism rate. Both got there using Ploof’s criminal, prison and treatment records and their own interviews with Ploof.

Rosell said that effort shows Ploof is committed to a new life. “By having housing, work and treatment set up, that will only make things smoother when he comes back to the community,” Rosell said.

During his cross-examination, Valentine challenged Rosell’s conclusion that Ploof has recovered from pedophilia or that he’s committed to further treatment.

Ploof rejected treatment in prison, Valentine said, until after the state passed the new sex offender law that he’s now fighting.

Valentine also pressed Rosell on how realistic Ploof’s plan for life out of prison is given that he has just $800 in his bank account. Rosell said the plan is a key part to Ploof’s recovery.

The treatment he intends to try runs about $120 a month, and rent is at least double that, Valentine said. Rosell said he didn’t look into the cost of rent. Under questioning from Valentine, Rosell said he also didn’t realize that some of the housing on Ploof’s list is near Manchester schools and parks.

“Did you ask him what he’d do when his money ran out?” Valentine asked Rosell.

“No,” Rosell said.

THAT’S BECAUSE YOU WERE ONLY INTERESTED IN ONE THING – LETTING A MULTI-VICTIM CHILD-MOLESTING PEDOPHILE GO FREE

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

………Sarah Tofte

Mart and Rosell both gave Ploof an eight, a ranking associated with the 30 to 48 percent recidivism rate. Both got there using Ploof’s criminal, prison and treatment records and their own interviews with Ploof.

Ken-Tweal Catts – Repeat Sex Offender – Puts us out of his misery

Records show at least two of New York’s nine most dangerous sex offenders freed under a two-year old civil confinement law have faced arrest on sex charges again, including one who this week shot at a police officer then killed himself.

Some state lawmakers now say they’ll study the law to see if it’s too easy for threats to be returned to the streets.

The law is aimed at confining dangerous sex offenders after their release from jail.


A day after he ended his own life following a three-hour standoff with police, a more detailed picture has emerged of rape suspect Ken-Tweal Catts.

The 30-year-old level-three sex offender shot himself in the head with a gun he had stolen from a detective in the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office hours before. The incident took place shortly before Catts was set to be charged and arraigned in the rape of a woman on Monday night.

According to the sheriff’s office, Catts allegedly pinned down a woman and raped her repeatedly in his Hyde Park motel room between the late-night hours Monday and the early-morning hours Tuesday. When the woman asked to leave, he allegedly said she could not.

Catts was registered as a level-three sex offender, according to the New York state Division of Criminal Justice Services Web site.

On Jan. 27, 2004, Catts pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual assault, telling Dutchess County Court Judge Thomas J. Dolan he touched a young woman and forced her to touch him in an apartment building on Main Street on Oct. 29, 2002. He was sentenced to two years in state prison and ordered to seek anti-aggression and anti-violence counseling.

His relationship to the victim was listed as “non-stranger – person in position of authority” and the force used was “immediately and physically overpowered” and “threat.”

Catts was sent to Fishkill Correctional Facility in 2004. He spent more than 500 days in jail before that, and was released twice from prison and returned for parole violations, corrections spokeswoman Linda Foglia said.

The parole violations were technical: a curfew violation and a failure to report as required, Parole Division spokeswoman Heather Groll said. Catts completed his sentence in prison and wasn’t on parole when he left in 2007, she said.

At Fishkill, he logged 27 disciplinary incidents, including fighting, harassment, smoking and an unnamed sex offense, according to corrections records. He was released in 2007 to another agency.

In 2007, New York enacted a new law that says before sex offenders are released from prison, mental health experts will assess them to determine whether they pose a risk of committing more sex offenses. A court proceeding follows to decide whether the convict is likely to commit future crimes and whether confinement or intensive post-release supervision are required.

Dutchess County Assistant District Attorney Marjorie Smith confirmed there was a civil confinement trial for Catts, which was handled by the state Attorney General’s Office. She said a jury decided against confinement in a proceeding that she recalled ended in September.

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

………Sarah Tofte

Roland Rupnick – Classified Sexually Violent – Civil Confinement

After a two-day trial this week, a judge ruled a former Wood County man should be classified as sexually violent, a decision that will prevent the man from being released from custody.

Roland Rupnick, 40, formerly of Marshfield and Neillsville, had been scheduled for release from prison May 7, 2008. Portage County Circuit Court Judge John Vincent Finn, acting as a substitute judge in the Wood County case, found probable cause to have a hearing for commitment under the state’s sexually violent person statutes. The statues allow a civil commitment when the person has been convicted of a sexually violent offense, has a mental disorder and is dangerous to others.

Rupnick waived his right to a jury trial in the civil commitment and left the decision to Finn, said Bill Cost, spokesman for the Wisconsin Attorney General’s Office, which represented the state in the case. The case took a year to get to trial because Rupnick changed attorneys shortly after Finn found probable cause to continue with the civil commitment process.

Rupnick was convicted in 1993 of first-degree sexual assault of a 3-year-old. He was given a year in jail and placed on 10 years of probation, according to court documents. In 1996, he was convicted of first-degree sexual assault of a 10-year-old. Wood County Circuit Court Judge James Mason revoked Rupnick’s probation on the first offense, sentenced him to 10 years with credit for almost three years already served, and sentenced him to an additional 10 years in prison for the second offense.

Rupnick now has been committed to the custody of the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services for care and control and is expected to be housed at the Saint Ridge Secure Treatment Center in Mauston so he can receive treatment, according to a news release from the Attorney General’s Office.

An individual committed as a sexually violent person has the right to a periodic review of his or her case in order to gain release, Cosh said.

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

………Sarah Tofte

Harold Willison – Repeat Sex Offender – Rapes elderly woman and calls it consensual

A convicted sex offender from Eau Claire will spend the next three decades in a mental institution.

Tuesday, Harold Willison pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual assault. Last May, he broke into a 78 year old woman’s home and sexually assaulted her.

He was being electronically monitored at the time, but the alarm didn’t go off because he was still close to his own home. The court ordered Willison to be committed for 31 years.

Judge Paul Lenz abided by terms of a plea agreement between Eau Claire County District Attorney Rich White and public defender Jim Walsh and found Willison not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

A psychiatric examination supports an insanity finding, White said.

If Willison is ever released from an institution, he will be on lifetime supervision by corrections officials.

Walsh previously raised the issue of Willison’s competency to assist with his defense, primarily because of a brain injury Willison sustained in a traffic accident several years ago.

Walsh agreed on Tuesday that Willison is competent to enter a plea in this case.

Willison told police the incident with the elderly woman was a mistake. He told police he had a strong sexual urge and had been watching the woman’s house.

According to the criminal complaint:

Willison’s sister noticed Willison leaving the woman’s home on May 30, 2008. Willison told her the woman simply fed him.

Willison later told a second sister and Eau Claire police he had consensual sex with the woman.

But the woman told police Willison sexually assaulted her in her bathroom.

The woman said Willison entered her home and asked her if she wanted to have sex. The woman said she told Willison to get out of her house.

The woman said Willison then grabbed her and assaulted her in the bathroom.

Police said Willison was on electronic monitoring at the time of the incident but was not outside his geographical boundary or curfew requirements.

Local law enforcement designated Willison as a Level 3 sex offender when he was released from prison in November 2005. Police said Willison had a history of engaging in sexual acts with women, girls and men.

Police and corrections officials place a Level 3 designation on released sex offenders they believe pose a high risk of reoffending.


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

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