Trial date set in sex predator confinement

Maverick A. Lanning, convicted of a variety of local sex crimes, faces indefinite lockup.

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WALLA WALLA -- A fall trial date has been set in Walla Walla County Superior Court for a man the state Attorney General's Office wants detained indefinitely as a sexually violent predator.

Maverick A. Lanning is scheduled for the civil commitment trial starting Nov. 7 at which a jury is to determine if he meets the definition of a sex predator and should remained locked up "for control, care and treatment" at the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island.

Lanning was scheduled to be set free from the Washington State Penitentiary on March 2 of last year. Instead, he was transferred to the commitment center pending the outcome of his trial, sought by the AG's Office in the filing of a petition in Superior Court.

Lanning, now 30, pleaded guilty in late 1995 to first-degree child molestation. Then 15, he admitted he had sexual contact with a 6-year-old girl in Walla Walla County 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. However, 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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