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MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that on April 23, 2008, Herbert O. Richard, a Chippewa County resident, age 50, was found to be a sexually violent person under Wisconsin's civil commitment law (Chapter 980, Wis. Stats.) following a three-day jury trial in Chippewa Falls. Chippewa County Circuit Court Judge Roderick A. Cameron presided over the case and ordered Richard to be returned to the Wisconsin Resource Center in Winnebago, Wisconsin.
Richard has an extensive criminal history that dates back to 1978 when he was convicted of fourth degree sexual assault in Price County when he entered a woman's home and attempted to have intercourse. Richard absconded only weeks after he was released on parole supervision in 1980. He fled to Michigan where he was charged with assault with intent to commit murder when he threatened to kill a woman if she did not have sex with him. The charges in Michigan were not pursued and Richard was extradited back to Wisconsin. In November 1983, Richard allegedly assaulted a 10-year-old girl he was suppose to be escorting to her father's ice fishing shanty and was later convicted of false imprisonment. While serving a sentence for burglaries in 1986, Richard escaped from Flambeau Correctional Center and stole a vehicle and guns from a Rusk County residence. He then abducted a 9-year-old girl who was taking her 2-year-old brother for a stroller ride down an Oneida County road. Richard threatened the young girl with a gun and sexually assaulted her. He then took the girl to Chippewa County where he assaulted the girl a second time. Richard was apprehended at a Chippewa Falls motel when a motel clerk contacted authorities. Richard was later convicted of first degree sexual assault and kidnapping in Oneida County and first degree sexual assault in Chippewa County. Richard was sentenced to three concurrent 30-year prison terms. Richard's presence in the criminal justice system is marred with numerous rule violations and conduct reports during his incarceration, parole and supervision. Richard was scheduled to be released from the Wisconsin Prison System on October 17, 2006. Upon a recommendation from the Department of Corrections, the Department of Justice reviewed Richard's case and filed a petition on October 13, 2006, seeking to commit him as a sexually violent person.
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.
Richard has now 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 Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center in Mauston, Wisconsin for the purpose of receiving treatment.
Assistant Attorneys General Jeffrey Gabrysiak and Dennis Krueger represented the state in this trial.