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Court Finds Probable Cause to Commit Charles Dotson as a Sexually Violent Person


Department of Justice Will Try Dotson Under State's Sexually Violent Person Statute 


MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that Dane County Circuit Court Judge John C. Albert has found probable cause to commit Charles Dotson to treatment under the state's sexual predator law. The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) filed the state's petition to commit Dotson to treatment on June 9, 2009.


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, Charles Dotson was convicted of 3 counts of Second Degree-Sexual Assault/Use of Force in Dane County in 1993, and was sentenced on Count 1: to 10 years and Count 3: to 2 years consecutive in the Wisconsin State Prison System; On Count 2, sentence was withheld and respondent was placed on 15 years probation.  On September 7, 2005, after respondent's probation on Count 2 was revoked, he was sentenced to 4 additional years in prison.  Dotson was scheduled for release from the Department of Corrections on June 16, 2009, but will be detained at a Department of Health Services facility awaiting trial.


The state's petition alleges that Dotson suffers from a mental condition that predisposes him to engage in acts of sexual violence.  The petition also alleges that Dotson 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.  Dotson 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.