An Iowa man who did not return from work to the Cherokee Mental Health Institute’s Civil Commitment Unit last Sunday was found in Oklahoma and arrested by the U.S. Marshal’s Service. The man had been convicted of various sex crimes in 2008 in Wapello County, Iowa.
He had completed his criminal prison sentence and was serving the civil commitment portion of his sentence when he failed to return to Cherokee. The civil commitment program in Iowa, like that in most states, occurs when a sex offender has served the full term of his criminal sentence but then is found to be potentially at risk for reoffending.
In the civil commitment program, the offender is supposed to receive treatment, with the goal of eventually permitting his release from the program. In many programs, the period of civil commitment can become the equivalent of a life sentence.
The other reason you do not want to be convicted of any sexual offense is the presence of the Iowa sex offender registry. Even low-level sex offenders may find themselves having to register for 10 years, and offenses that are more serious require lifetime registration.
If you have completed your sentence and have been released from custody, and are required to register, you have to do so in person at the Sheriff’s Office in every county where you live, work or attend school.
If you have any changes to these locations, you must reregister within five days. Iowa also has residency restrictions. These can be especially troubling, as they create the potential for inadvertent violations.
Many offenders find themselves charged with violations of the administrative registry requirements that can send them back to prison. Because of this, any sex crime charge, no matter how minor should be aggressively contested.
Source: Souixcityjourna.com, “Missing Cherokee, Iowa, sex offender found in Oklahoma,” Molly Montag, August 8, 2014