The state Supreme Court is looking at a ruling to have a man committed to the Mental Health Department as a violent sexual predator.
The decision came after Aaron Sebastian, who was convicted of sexually assaulting a minor in Greene County, admitted to numerous similar incidents.
Sebastian pleaded guilty to putting his hand down the pants of an 11-year-old girl when he was 18. While incarcerated, he participated in a group sexual offender therapy program where, according to court documents, he admitted to having performed oral sex on his sister and two other girls multiple times, and that he had performed oral sex on a seven-year-old girl when he was seventeen.
In 2015, the state sought a hearing to determine if Sebastian was a sexually violent predator. Attorneys for Sebastian attempted to have the hearing dismissed, contending the sexually violent predator act was unconstitutional. A judge overruled the motion, and the case moved to a trial by jury.
Dr. Nena Kircher, a licensed clinical psychologist who performed a sexually violent predator evaluation of Sebastian, was one of two experts who testified for the state.
She said he met the criteria of having recurrent, intense, sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent children, and said he was roughly two times as likely as the typical sex offender to re-offend.
Kircher and the other expert witness, also a psychologist, testified that he was a pedophile who was likely to engage in violent sexual predatory behavior unless confined.
Attorneys for Sebastian offered experts who testimony that he was not necessarily likely to commit predatory acts of sexual violence in the future. The court ruled against Sebastian, finding that he was a sexually violent predator, and ordered him turned over to the state Department of Mental Health.
While representing Sebastian before the Supreme Court, attorney Chelsea Mitchell, pointed to the state’s closing argument before the lower court. She noted the state admitted Sebastian’s primary purpose wasn’t victimization, but to sexually gratify himself, which created victims.
“The only reasonable inference that can be drawn from this evidence is that, yes, Mr. Sebastian committed a sexually violent offense act, and that his primary purpose was to gratify his personal sexual desire, and it was for personal fulfillment” said Mitchell. “The testimony was he never intended to hurt someone, and he never went out going ‘I’m going to do this to hurt someone’. He could not be predatory, based upon the evidence the state elected to present to the jury.”
Arguing for the state, attorney Daniel McPherson said powerful expert testimony proves Sebastian is a sexually violent predator – or svp.
“They were relying on the statutory standards” said McPherson. “They were not out making up their own. They applied the information that they were able to gather, and their diagnosis to the language of the statute, and found to a reasonable degree of psychological certainty, that the appellant in this case met those standards for being declared an SVP.”
Sebastian’s attorneys contend the state’s sexually violent predator act is unconstitutional. Among other things, the Supreme Court could determine whether the act results in punitive, lifetime confinement, and whether it allows confinement without proof of a behavioral disorder.