New civil commmitment trial set

A mistrial was declared last week for Kenneth Longsdorff, whom the state seeks to lock up indefinitely as a sex predator.

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— A new trial date has been set in Superior Court following last week's mistrial in a civil commitment case seeking continued confinement of a suspected sexually violent predator.

The trial of Kenneth Longsdorff began with jury selection July 24. But it was cut short Thursday because attorneys involved just received a neuropsychological report and Longsdorff's attorney, Robert Thompson of Pasco, said he couldn't proceed without more preparation time.

Thompson asked Judge John Lohrmann to declare a mistrial, a motion that Lohrmann granted.

A new trial is set for Sept. 10-14.

The proceedings are to determine if Longsdorff -- convicted in the past of four sexually violent crimes -- should be locked up indefinitely as a sex predator.

In April 2009, the state Attorney General's Office filed a petition asking a jury to make such a finding that would hold Longsdorff "in a secure facility for control, care and treatment" until his condition changes.

Longsdorff was scheduled to be released from the Washington State Penitentiary on April 27, 2009, after completing his latest criminal sentences. Instead, at the request of the AG's Office, Longsdorff was ordered 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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