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Columbia County Court Finds Probable Cause To Commit Scott Maher To Treatment Under Chapter 980


MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a petition under the state's sexual predator law against a Columbia County man.


The petition was filed on August 6, 2007, in Columbia County Circuit Court and alleged that Scott T. Maher (DOB May 15, 1970) is a sexually violent person and should be committed for treatment. A finding of probable cause was found on August 24, 2007, at a hearing before Judge James O. Miller. A trial date has been set for March 31, 2008.


Chapter 980 of the Wisconsin Statutes relates to the control, care and treatment of sexually violent persons. Under Wisconsin law, a person may be subject to a civil commitment when the person has been convicted of a sexually violent offense, has a mental disorder, and is dangerous to others because the mental disorder makes it likely he or she will commit further acts of sexual violence. A civil commitment is defined in Wisconsin law as commitment to the custody and care of the Department of Health and Family Services for control, care, and treatment until the person is no longer considered sexually violent.


According to the DOJ petition, Scott Maher was convicted of two counts of First Degree Sexual Assault of a Child in Columbia County in 1997 and was sentenced to ten years in the Wisconsin State Prison System. Maher was scheduled for release from the Jackson Correctional Institution on August 15, 2007, but will be detained at a Department of Health and Family Services (DHFS) facility awaiting trial.


The state's petition alleges that Scott Maher suffers from mental conditions that predispose him to engage in acts of sexual violence. The petition also alleges that Maher is dangerous as his mental disorders make it likely that he will engage in future acts of sexual violence. A petition is only an allegation, and Scott Maher is legally presumed not to be a sexually violent person unless and until proven to be a sexually violent person.


Assistant Attorney General Dennis Krueger represents the state in this case.