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In re Civil Commitment of Cooper

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

November 18, 2013

In the Matter of the Civil Commitment of: Anthony Christopher Cooper

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Olmsted County District Court File No. 55-PR-12-8109

Ashley M. Kuhn, O'Brien & Wolf, L.L.P., Rochester, Minnesota (for appellant)

Mark A. Ostrem, Olmsted County Attorney, Geoffrey A. Hjerleid, Jennifer D. Plante, Assistant County Attorneys, Rochester, Minnesota (for respondent)

Considered and decided by Larkin, Presiding Judge; Rodenberg, Judge; and Chutich, Judge.

LARKIN, Judge

Appellant challenges his commitment to the Minnesota sex offender program (MSOP) as a sexually dangerous person (SDP), arguing that he does not meet the statutory criteria for commitment as an SDP and that a less-restrictive treatment program is available. Because appellant's commitment as an SDP is supported by clear and convincing evidence and because appellant failed to establish the availability of an appropriate, less-restrictive treatment program, we affirm.

FACTS

In 1994, appellant Anthony Christopher Cooper sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl in Missouri. Cooper forced the child to have sexual intercourse after luring her to a basement laundry room. Cooper also vaginally penetrated the child with his fingers. Cooper pleaded guilty to felony-level rape and sodomy. He was placed on probation, violated the terms of his probation, and was sent to prison. Cooper claims that he successfully completed sex-offender treatment while in prison in Missouri, but the record does not contain documentation that supports his claim.

In approximately 2002, after moving to Rochester, Cooper digitally penetrated S.B., the nine-year-old child of his girlfriend, on at least two separate occasions. Cooper threatened S.B. to prevent her from reporting the abuse.

In January 2003, Cooper approached L.T.W., an 11-year-old girl, and offered her $10 if she would engage in sexual intercourse with him and his friends. Cooper gave L.T.W. $3, and she reported the incident to her parents. L.T.W.'s father reported that prior to soliciting sexual relations from L.T.W., Cooper had visited the family's home and asked him when he would allow L.T.W. to date. Cooper pleaded guilty to felony-level solicitation of a child to engage in sexual conduct. The district court granted Cooper's motion for a dispositional departure, stayed execution of the presumptive 20-month prison term, ordered Cooper to serve six months in jail with credit for time served, and placed Cooper on probation.

In June 2005, while awaiting sentencing for his offense against L.T.W., Cooper sexually abused J.L.H., his then girlfriend's 15-year-old, physically disabled niece. The abuse involved multiple acts of fondling, digital penetration, and sexual intercourse; it occurred while Cooper assisted in the physical care of the child. Cooper threatened to kill J.L.H. and her mother if J.L.H. reported the abuse.

In 2006, Cooper was evicted from his residence and involuntarily terminated from outpatient sex-offender treatment because he had begun a relationship against program rules and had engaged in voyeuristic behavior. At the time of his discharge from treatment, he had only marginally progressed in the program.

S.B. and J.L.H. each reported Cooper's sexual abuse to law enforcement in 2006. In July 2007, Cooper pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree criminal ...


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