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Stoffel Will Be Tried Under State's Sexually Violent Person Statute
MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a petition under the state's sexual predator law against an Eau Claire County man.
The petition was filed on July 13, 2009, in Eau Claire County Circuit Court and alleged that Keith Stoffel (DOB 12/26/1975) is a sexually violent person and should be committed for treatment. A probable cause hearing before Judge Paul J. Lenz will be scheduled at a later date.
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 Services for control, care, and treatment until the person is no longer considered sexually violent.
According to the DOJ petition, in 2002 Stoffel was convicted in Eau Claire County of First Degree Sexual Assault of a Child. Stoffel's sentence was withheld and he was placed on 15 years probation after serving one year in the county jail. In 2006, Stoffel's probation was revoked and he was sentenced to 4 years in prison. Stoffel was scheduled for release from the Department of Corrections on July 14, 2009, but will be detained at a Department of Health Services facility awaiting trial.
The state's petition alleges that Stoffel suffers from a mental condition that predisposes him to engage in acts of sexual violence. The petition also alleges that Stoffel is dangerous as his mental disorder makes it likely that he will engage in future acts of sexual violence. A petition is only an allegation and a finding of probable cause only allows the state's case to move forward. Stoffel is legally presumed not to be a sexually violent person unless and until the state proves him to be a sexually violent person at a trial.
Assistant Attorney General Rebecca Weise represents the state in this case.