Courts

First Washington woman confined as sex predator to remain at McNeil Island

Staff writerAugust 23, 2013 

The first woman ever confined to the state’s Special Commitment Center for sexually violent offenders has failed in her attempt to gain a conditional release.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Bryan Chushcoff on Friday ruled that Laura McCollum still meets the definition of a sex predator and must remain confined at the McNeil Island facility, at least for the near term.

Chushcoff cited a recent evaluation of McCollum in making his decision and also pointed out that there was no firm plan for where McCollum would live if and when she gains release.

“I don’t have a placement identified,” the judge said.

Chushcoff also said McCollum would benefit from further treatment for her “broadly rooted and ingrained personality disorder.”

The judge said he was open to reconsidering the matter if McCollum, 55, presented him with a firm plan including a place to live and a treatment regimen.

McCollum volunteered to be confined to the center in 1995 after serving a 5-1/2 year sentence for first-degree child rape.

She was convicted in Pierce County of repeatedly molesting a girl between the ages of 2 and 3, court records show. She later admitted to sexual assaults on other children, both boys and girls, and told therapists she harbored violent sexual fantasies involving children, the records show.

McCollum has been diagnosed with pedophilia, sexual sadism and other mental disorders. She is one of two women ever confined to the Special Commitment Center.

Earlier this year, she petitioned for release from McNeil Island to a halfway house or other residence on the mainland where she would continue to receive treatment.

Her attorney, Tomackie Kim, had argued in court pleadings that McCollum was not the same woman committed to the center in 1995 and deserved a “real chance at life.”

Assistant state attorney Kristie Barham opposed the move, saying the recent state expert who examined McCollum determined she was not ready for a so-called “least restrictive alternative.”

Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644
adam.lynn@thenewstribune.com

 

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