Sex Offender Facing Civil Commitment - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Sex Offender Facing Civil Commitment

Updated: July 22, 2008 01:01 AM EDT

An Augusta county man has already served his time for a pair of sex crimes more than 15 years ago. But he is still behind bars, and could remain there if a jury declares him a sexual predator.

This past December, 40-year-old Willard Franklin Campbell Junior reached the end of a 13-year prison sentence for crimes against two young children in which he made them simulate sex. But instead of being released, Campbell faces the prospect of a "civil commitment."

It is a rather obscure law that allows the state to confine someone who is found to be a "sexually violent predator."

Campbell was convicted on two counts of aggravated sexual battery. Soon before his scheduled release, he scored high on a risk assessment and the attorney general's office stepped in.

Prosecutors will ask an Augusta County jury to find Willard Campbell to be a sexually violent predator. They say doctors diagnosed Campbell with lifelong anti-social personality disorder and pedophilia. They say he can't control his predatory past and is a high risk to be a repeat violent sex offender.

Campbell's attorney says there are holes in those psychological reports. The defense will blame, in part, substance abuse as the root of Campbell's criminal record. His attorney says he does not meet the mandatory requirements for civil commitment. He'll ask the jury to consider campbell's 13 years as a model prisoner doing hard time and trying to change his ways.

The panel will need clear and convincing evidence that he struggles to control his predatory behavior making him a "menace to the health and safety of others." If the jury finds he is, Campbell could be held indefinitely and would have to go before a judge once a year to have his case reviewed. If the jury does not agree with the Commonwealth, Campbell will be released.

The Augusta County jury will hear two days of testimony, much of it from mental health experts on both sides. This is a civil trial, but the verdict must be unanimous.

Reported by Matt Talhelm
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Reported by Ken Slack
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