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BARRON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that on October 19, 2010, Barron County Circuit Court judge James C. Babler after presiding over an evidentiary hearing found probable cause that Nathan Fleming, 47, is a sexually violent person. The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) filed the state's petition to commit Fleming to treatment on August 30, 2010.
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 2009 Fleming was convicted in Barron County of two counts of Substantial Battery. Fleming was extradited from Minnesota and initially charged with multiple counts for sexually assaulting a woman and beating her unconscious. After a jury trial in Barron County, Fleming was acquitted on the sexual assault charges and convicted of two counts of substantial battery. He was sentenced to a total of two years and six months in prison with three years of extended supervision. Fleming was scheduled to be discharged from the Department of Corrections on September 7, 2010, but will be detained at a Department of Health Services facility to await trial on the petition.
The state's petition alleges that Fleming suffers from a mental condition that predisposes him to engage in acts of sexual violence. The petition also alleges that Fleming 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. Fleming 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 Erik Peterson represents the state in this case.