Former North Kitsap man, convicted of sex offenses, asks court to release him from involuntary civil commitment

OLYMPIA — A trial to keep a man convicted of three sexually violent offenses in Washington's Special Commitment Center began March 31 in Kitsap County Superior Court.

The state Attorney General's Office is working to keep Elmer Todd Gillis, 49, confined. Gillis is asking the court for unconditional release into the community, as allowed under law.

The Attorney General's Office must demonstrate Gillis suffers from a mental abnormality and/or personality disorder that causes him to have serious difficulty controlling his behavior and makes him likely to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence, if not confined to a secure facility.

The trial is expected to continue into the second week of April.

Gillis' record dates back to 1984 in Spokane County, where he was found guilty of indecent liberties at the age of 18. In 1990, he was convicted of second-degree rape in Snohomish County. In June 1993, he was convicted of second-degree assault with sexual motivation in Kitsap County; the assault occurred in Suquamish. He was also charged with fourth-degree assault of a Kingston woman that year.

Gillis has been confined either at the Special Commitment Center or at the Secure Community Transition Facility on McNeil Island since 1997.

Gillis was committed under a law that permits the involuntary civil commitment of sex offenders. The predator laws help "protect communities from offenders who are likely to reoffend if released," Attorney General Bob Ferguson noted in a press release.

The Sexually Violent Predator Unit within the Attorney General's Office was created in response to the laws permitting involuntary commitment of sex offenders. The unit is responsible for prosecuting predator cases for 38 counties in Washington. In 2013, the unit tried 19 cases and won 16.

As of March 2014, about 296 sexually violent predators are in the Special Commitment Program.


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