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Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen Announces Commitment of John W. Sweeney to Treatment Under Chapter 980


MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that John W. Sweeney, age 49, was committed in Racine County Circuit Court under Wisconsin’s civil commitment law (Chapter 980, Wis. Stats.) following a court trial in Racine.  Racine County Circuit Court Judge Allan B. Torhorst presided over the case.


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, John W. Sweeney was convicted of Third Degree Sexual Assault in Racine County in 1995 and was sentenced to ten years in the Wisconsin State Prison System.  Sweeney was scheduled for release from the Fox Lake Correctional Institution on November 3, 2007, but was detained at a Department of Health Services facility to await resolution of the court proceedings.


Assistant Attorney General Rebecca R. Weise represents the state in this case.