Dennis Yarber Bound Over for Trial Under State's Sexually Violent Person Statute

Dec 4 2014
Dennis Yarber Bound Over for Trial Under State's Sexually Violent Person Statute

MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that on December 3, 2014, Racine County Circuit Judge Eugene A. Gasiorkiewicz, after presiding over an evidentiary hearing, found probable cause that Dennis Yarber, 65, is a sexually violent person.  The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a petition under the state’s sexual predator law against Yarber on October 17, 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, on February 26, 1996, Yarber pleaded guilty to three counts of Second Degree Sexual Assault of a Child in three separate cases.  On April 22, 1996, Yarber received three, 10-year consecutive terms of confinement in the Wisconsin State Prison System for his convictions.  Yarber was released from the Department of Corrections on October 21, 2014, and will be detained at a Department of Health Services facility to await further proceedings on the petition.


The state’s petition alleges that Yarber suffers from mental conditions that predispose him to engage in acts of sexual violence.  The petition also alleges that Yarber 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.  Yarber 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 Eric D. Défort represents the state in this case.