James Arthur Gardner, a 44-year-old St. Louis man who was convicted and imprisoned for sodomizing a seven-year-old boy, has officially been found to be a "sexually violent predator," Attorney General Chris Koster announced yesterday.
That means Gardner will be committed to the Sex Offender Rehabilitation and Treatment Service in Farmington, officials say.
Koster highlights this St. Louis city jury ruling as a model of the criminal justice system keeping violent sexual predators off of the streets.
In part, because this is not Gardner's first horrific offense against a minor -- and his prior victim was even younger.
Koster says that Gardner was previously convicted of sexually abusing a three-year-old girl.
"It is critical that we keep those who could commit further violent sexual acts off the streets and away from those they could harm," Koster says in a statement. "It is important for individuals who are deemed sexually violent predators to get the help they need while the community is protected."
Individuals who are committed by the court as "sexually violent predators" go into the custody of the state department of mental health, where they have a right to have their cases reviewed annually to determine if their condition has changed -- and the risk of them committing acts of sexual violence has decreased.
A total of 196 sexually violent predators have been committed in Missouri, Koster says, adding that this is the fifth this year.
Here's the full news release from Koster's office.
St. Louis man committed as Sexually Violent Predator
Jefferson City, Mo. - Attorney General Chris Koster said today that a St. Louis City jury found James Arthur Gardner, 44, to be a sexually violent predator. As a result, Gardner has been committed to the Sex Offender Rehabilitation and Treatment Service in Farmington.
Prior to his commitment as a sexually violent predator, Gardner served time in prison after being sentenced to 10 years for sodomizing a 7-year-old boy. Previously, he had been convicted of sexually abusing a 3-year-old girl.
"It is critical that we keep those who could commit further violent sexual acts off the streets and away from those they could harm," Koster said. "It is important for individuals who are deemed sexually violent predators to get the help they need while the community is protected."
Those committed by the court as sexually violent predators go into the custody of the Missouri Department of Mental Health. They have the right to have their cases reviewed annually to determine whether their mental condition has changed and their risk to commit further acts of sexual violence has lessened.
Currently, 196 sexually violent predators have been committed in Missouri. This is the 5th commitment this year. Sexually Violent Predator commitments are handled by the Public Safety Division in Koster's office.
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