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MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that Lafayette County Circuit Court Judge William D. Johnston, after presiding over an evidentiary hearing on Friday, February 21, 2014, found probable cause that Ryan J. Larson, 34, is a sexually violent person. The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a petition under the state’s sexual predator law against Larson on February 14, 2014.
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, Larson was convicted of one count of First Degree Sexual Assault While Using a Dangerous Weapon (count one) and one count of False Imprisonment (count two) in Lafayette County on March 3, 2004. On May 27, 2004, Larson received nine years confinement in the Wisconsin State Prison System and eleven years extended supervision on count one and one year confinement in the Wisconsin State Prison System, concurrent to count one, and four years extended supervision on count two. Larson was released from the Department of Corrections on February 18, 2014, but had been detained at a Department of Health Services facility to await further proceedings on the petition.
The state’s petition alleges that Larson suffers from mental conditions that predispose him to engage in acts of sexual violence. The petition also alleges that Larson 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. Larson 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 Michael G. Schaefer represents the state in this case.