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MADISON Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that on January 9, 2009, Scott Maher, a Columbia County resident, age 38, was found to be a sexually violent person under Wisconsins civil commitment law (Chapter 980, Wis. Stats.) following a three‑day jury trial in Portage. Columbia County Circuit Court Judge James O. Miller presided over the case and ordered Maher to be returned to the Wisconsin Resource Center in Winnebago, Wisconsin.
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 more likely than not that 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 Services for control, care, and treatment until the person is no longer considered sexually violent.
When Maher was 18 years old, he was found guilty of having sex with a 13‑year‑old girl in Sauk County when he took a girl he met at a swimming pool back to his home and had sex. The girl was told by Maher that when a girl refuses to give him what he wants, he would force the girl to have sex with him. While on probation for this offense, Maher was revoked and convicted of fourth degree sexual assault when he met a 14‑year‑old girl walking along the street and took her to a field. While Maher was on community supervision in 1997, he was found guilty of two counts of first degree sexual assault of a child under the age of 13 years in Columbia County. The assaults occurred while Maher babysat his 6‑year‑old niece and 5‑year‑old nephew overnight. Maher was sentenced to 10 years in Wisconsin state prison on the first count and his sentence was withheld on the second count and he was placed on 20 years probation consecutive to the first. Maher was scheduled to be released on August 15, 2007. Upon a recommendation from the Department of Corrections, the Department of Justice reviewed Mahers case and filed a petition on August 6, 2007, seeking to commit him as a sexually violent person.
Maher has now been committed to the custody of the Wisconsin Department of Health 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 Attorney General Dennis Krueger represented the state in this trial.