Crime

The only woman sex offender on McNeil Island is released after more than 20 years

What is sexual violence?

Sexual violence is a social and public health problem in the U.S. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey says nearly 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men experienced sexual violence victimization other than rape at some point in their lives.
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Sexual violence is a social and public health problem in the U.S. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey says nearly 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men experienced sexual violence victimization other than rape at some point in their lives.

The only woman at the state’s facility for sexually violent predators has been released with conditions.

Laura Faye McCollum, 61, was civilly committed as a sex offender in 1997 and has spent the last 15 years at the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island, according to court records and News Tribune archives.

She moved into a residence in Lakewood on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the state Department of Social and Health Services said.

A psychologist filed a report with the court in December that said McCollum had made progress in treatment in recent years and that she no longer met the criteria for civil commitment.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Bryan Chushcoff signed an order in April that allowed for McCollum’s release this week to the rental unit in Lakewood.

The 20-page order detailed various conditions, including that she is not allowed to leave her home without approval and must be chaperoned and have a GPS during approved outings.

Officials may search her home and electronics to make sure she’s following the court’s rules.

McCollum also was required to register as a sex offender with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department upon her release and must take part in sex offender treatment with a designated provider trained to treat women sex offenders. That provider will make monthly reports to the court about McCollum’s progress.

McCollum can be sent back to the SCC if she violates the conditions of her release.

Chushcoff’s order directs the state to pay some of McCollum’s expenses, such as her rent and a living stipend.

McCollum was convicted in Pierce County of repeatedly molesting a toddler, and she later admitted to sexually assaulting other children. She was voluntarily civilly committed after she finished a five-and-a-half year prison sentence for first-degree child rape.

She was the first woman committed to the Special Commitment Center and one of two in the facility’s history. The other woman was released after a couple years.

McCollum has been diagnosed with pedophilia and sexual sadism, among other disorders.

Her attorney wrote the court earlier this year that finding McCollum a place to live was very difficult.

The housing options for women sex offenders in particular are especially limited, the attorney said.

He asked that the state be ordered to pay rent to secure the Lakewood residence pending McCollum’s release, and the judge agreed.

Chushcoff previously denied McCollum release from the facility in 2013, according to News Tribune archives, in part because he said there wasn’t a firm plan for where she would live.

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