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MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that on February 17, 2010, Kevin M. Gaetz, a Clark County resident, age 43, was ordered to remain committed under Wisconsin's "sexually violent persons" commitment law (Chapter 980, Wis. Stats.) following a two day court trial in Neillsville. Clark County Circuit Court Judge Jon M. Counsell determined that the state had met its burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that Gaetz still met the criteria for commitment as a sexually violent person, and denied Gaetz's petition asking to be discharged from the commitment.
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.
Evidence at the trial established that Gaetz was convicted in 1990 in Clark County of first degree sexual assault for sexual conduct with an 8 year old girl. Gaetz also was convicted in Clark County in 1992 for first degree sexual assault of another child under the age of 13 years. Both of these crimes are considered sexually violent acts under Wisconsin law. Evidence further established that Gaetz currently suffers from the mental disorder of pedophilia, which predisposes him to engage in acts of sexual violence, and a personality disorder that also predisposes him to engage in acts of sexual violence.
Gaetz was originally committed under chapter 980 following a four day jury trial in 2005. In 2009, Gaetz filed a petition seeking to be discharged form the commitment on the basis that he was no longer dangerous. Evidence at the trial held February 16 and 17, 2010, established that Gaetz is still dangerous, and met the other legal criteria for commitment, and Judge Counsell denied the petition seeking discharge.
Gaetz remains in the custody of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services for care, control and treatment at the Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center in Mauston, Wisconsin, for the purpose of receiving treatment.
Assistant Attorney General Gary A. Freyberg represented the state in this case.