State Attorney General's Office wants man locked up as sex predator

Maverick A. Lanning, convicted of sex crimes in the county, faces a civil trial and possible indefinite commmitment.

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WALLA WALLA -- The state Attorney General's Office wants a man who has been convicted of sexually violent crimes in Walla Walla County to be locked up indefinitely as a sexually violent predator.

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

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

Lanning was scheduled to be released from the Washington State Penitentiary today. 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 that was filed Friday.

Lanning, now 29, pleaded guilty in late 1995 in Walla Walla County Superior Court to first-degree child molestation. Then 15, he admitted he had sexual contact with a 6-year-old girl earlier in the year, according to a document filed in court by the AG's Office.

He was sentenced to 13-16 weeks in a state institution, but the sentence was suspended with a provision he undergo outpatient sex-offender treatment. But the following year, he reportedly tied the girl's hands, threatened her and again had sexual contact with her. He pleaded guilty to first-degree child molestation for that crime and was sentenced to 52-65 weeks in a state institution.

After his release, Lanning reportedly was incarcerated for several parole violations and for failing to register as a sex offender in 2003.

Then in 2006, Lanning was arrested for allegedly having sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old girl in Walla Walla County. Charges eventually were reduced to one count of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes. Lanning pleaded guilty to that charge and was sentenced to 43 months in prison.

The court document by the AG's Office also reveals that Lanning disclosed during treatment when he was a juvenile that he had committed several other sex offenses.

Lanning allegedly suffers from several mental abnormalities and disorders, including pedophilia. 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 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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