Civil commitment trial for sex predator delayed

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WALLA WALLA -- A new trial date has been set in Walla Walla County Superior Court to determine if a man convicted in the past of four sexually violent crimes should be locked up indefinitely as a sexually violent predator.

The civil commitment trial for Kenneth Longsdorff had been scheduled for next week, beginning Monday, but is being delayed until June 19-29 of next year for a variety of reasons related to trial preparation.

In April 2009, the state Attorney General's Office filed a petition asking that Longsdorff be declared a sex predator. If a jury makes such a finding at his trial, he will held "in a secure facility for control, care and treatment" until his condition changes, according to the petition.

Longsdorff was scheduled to be released from the Washington State Penitentiary on April 27, 2009, after completing his latest criminal sentence. Instead, at the request of the AG's Office, Judge Donald W. Schacht signed an order requiring that Longsdorff be detained without bail pending the outcome of the sex predator civil case.

Longsdorff, now 61, pleaded guilty in 1993 in Walla Walla County to first-degree child molestation. He had sexual contact with a boy from about 1982-1990 when the child was 5-13 years old, according to a document filed in court by the AG's Office.

In 1992, he was sentenced in Benton and Franklin counties for raping three boys in those jurisdictions during the latter part of the 1980s to early 1990s.

Longsdorff allegedly suffers from a mental abnormality, specifically pedophilia. The condition "causes him to have serious difficulty controlling his dangerous behavior and makes 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.

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