Case against man accused of being sexually violent person to proceed

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MADISON, Wis. (WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE NEWS RELEASE) -- Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that Eau Claire County Circuit Court Judge Jon M. Theisen, after presiding over an evidentiary hearing, found probable cause that Steven T. Trautt, 32, is a sexually violent person. The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a petition under the state’s sexual predator law against Trautt on July 31, 2014. Trautt will remain in custody at the Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center until a jury trial is held on the petition.

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 April 20, 2006, Trautt was convicted of one count of Third Degree Sexual Assault in Eau Claire County. On September 8, 2006, Trautt received a withheld sentence, five years probation, and 120 days jail time. Two additional counts of Third Degree Sexual Assault and one count of Fourth Degree Sexual Assault were dismissed and read-in. On July 31, 2007, Trautt received five years in the Wisconsin State Prison System and five years extended supervision following the revocation of his probation. In December 2011, Trautt was released from the Wisconsin State Prison System to extended supervision. On April 2, 2013, Trautt was ordered to return to the Wisconsin State Prison System following the revocation of his extended supervision. Trautt was scheduled to be released from the Department of Corrections on August 5, 2014, but will be detained at a Department of Health Services facility to await further proceedings on the petition.

The state’s petition alleges that Trautt suffers from mental conditions that predispose him to engage in acts of sexual violence. The petition also alleges that Trautt 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. Trautt 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 David Maas represents the state in this case.

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