State seeks lockup of man as sex predator

Ronald Valentine was convicted of child molestation in Walla Walla County in 1995 and had been scheduled for release from prison this week.

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WALLA WALLA -- The state Attorney General's Office wants a man convicted of child molestation in Walla Walla County in 1995 locked up indefinitely as a sexually violent predator.

The civil commitment petition, filed Wednesday in Walla Walla County Superior Court, asks that Ronald Valentine be held "in a secure facility for control, care and treatment" until his condition changes.

A trial will be set to determine if Valentine meets the definition of a sex predator and should be detained at the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island.

Valentine was scheduled to be released from the Washington State Penitentiary this Friday. Instead, at the request of the AG's Office, he was ordered to be taken to the Walla Walla County Jail pending further action in the sex predator civil case.

Valentine, now 61, was convicted by a Walla Walla jury in December 1995 of first-degree child molestation for having sexual contact with an 11-year-old girl he was babysitting three months earlier, according to a document filed in court by the AG's Office. He later was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Valentine allegedly suffers from pedophilia and a personality disorder. The conditions "cause him to have serious difficulty controlling his dangerous behavior and make him likely to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence unless he is confined to a secure facility," the court petition says.

Several such petitions have been filed in Walla Walla County since the law allowing for indefinite confinement of sex predators went into effect in 1990.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

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