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In re Civil Commitment of Donaldson

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

September 9, 2013

In the Matter of the Civil Commitment of: Richard Steven Donaldson, Jr.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Anoka County District Court File No. 02-PR-11-629

James S. Dahlquist, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for appellant Richard Steven Donaldson, Jr.)

Anthony C. Palumbo, Anoka County Attorney, Janice M. Allen, Assistant County Attorney, Anoka, Minnesota (for respondent Anoka County)

Considered and decided by Larkin, Presiding Judge; Halbrooks, Judge; and Worke, Judge.

HALBROOKS, Judge

Appellant challenges his indeterminate civil commitment as a sexually dangerous person (SDP), arguing that the county failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that he meets the statutory definition of an SDP. Alternatively, he argues that he adequately proved the availability of a less-restrictive alternative to civil commitment as an SDP. We affirm.

FACTS

In 2006, appellant Richard Steven Donaldson, Jr., was convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and solicitation of a minor, for which he received a 46-month prison sentence. Donaldson left prison on supervised release in 2008 but returned to prison after violating the terms of his release. Donaldson was later allowed to enter Alpha Human Services, a residential sex-offender treatment program.

As part of his treatment, Donaldson documented his sexual history. He reported having sexual contact with a total of 21 victims. Donaldson did not successfully complete treatment at Alpha Human Services. He was suspended twice and eventually terminated from programming due to rule violations and negative behavior. As a result, Donaldson returned to prison.

On November 15, 2011, Anoka County petitioned to civilly commit Donaldson as an SDP and a sexual psychopathic personality (SPP). The district court appointed James Gilbertson, Ph.D., to examine Donaldson. In his initial report, Dr. Gilbertson opined that Donaldson is an SDP because he has a prior course of harmful sexual conduct, exhibits a mental disorder, and is highly likely to engage in future acts of harmful sexual conduct. Dr. Gilbertson determined that Donaldson's "self-disclosures and . . . two convictions would constitute a prior course of sexual conduct of the kind that would have the probability of producing harm." Dr. Gilbertson diagnosed Donaldson with a number of mental disorders including antisocial personality disorder. He further opined that Donaldson is highly likely to reoffend as evidenced by actuarial-risk results and dynamic-risk factors.

The district court granted Donaldson's request to appoint Thomas Alberg, Ph.D., as a second examiner. Dr. Alberg agreed with Dr. Gilbertson that Donaldson suffers from mental disorders, including antisocial personality disorder. But Dr. Alberg disagreed that Donaldson has a prior course of harmful sexual conduct or is highly likely to engage in future acts of harmful sexual conduct because Dr. Alberg questions whether the self-disclosed offenses actually occurred. Dr. Alberg opined that if Donaldson had committed only one sexual offense then there "would not necessarily be a course of harmful sexual behavior." But Dr. Alberg advised Donaldson's attorney that he believed that Donaldson would meet the criteria for commitment as mentally ill and dangerous (MI&D).

On the date that his civil-commitment trial on the SDP/SPP petition was set to commence, Donaldson, Donaldson's attorney, the county, and Dr. Gilbertson proposed to the district court that (1) the county amend the petition to add allegations that Donaldson is MI&D and chemically dependent (CD); (2) Donaldson admit that he is MI&D and CD; (3) Donaldson agree to be initially committed at the Minnesota Security Hospital (MSH) subject to a 60-day evaluation; and (4) trial on the SPP/SDP petition be continued to the date of Donaldson's review hearing on MI&D commitment. The district court accepted the parties' agreement, and Donaldson was transferred to MSH.

Dr. Gilbertson and Dr. Alberg submitted supplemental reports to the district court after meeting with Donaldson at MSH. Dr. Gilbertson offered his opinion that Donaldson meets the criteria for commitment as an SDP and as MI&D. Dr. Alberg indicated his ...


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