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MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that Rock County Circuit Court Judge Michael R. Fitzpatrick, after presiding over an evidentiary hearing, found probable cause that Richard Isabell, 53, is a sexually violent person. The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a petition under the state’s sexual predator law against Isabell on September 25, 2013.
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, Isabell was convicted of one count of First Degree Sexual Assault of a Child in Rock County on August 6, 1991. Isabell received a withheld sentence and was ordered to serve seven years probation. On December 29, 2003, Isabell’s probation was revoked. On January 28, 2004, Isabell was sentenced to 15 years in the Wisconsin State Prison System. Isabell was released from the Department of Corrections on October 1, 2013, and is now detained at a Department of Health Services facility to await trial on the petition.
The state’s petition alleges that Isabell suffers from mental conditions that predispose him to engage in acts of sexual violence. The petition also alleges that Isabell is dangerous as his mental disorders make 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. Isabell 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 R. Weise represents the state in this case.